Development partners commit $30 billion to boost food production in Africa
Last Friday, at the Dakar 2 Summit in Senegal, development partners made a $30 billion investment pledge to boost food production in Africa and support the continent’s transformation into the world’s breadbasket. The summit, which took place from 25-27 January under the theme “Feed Africa: food sovereignty and resilience”, was organised by the Senegalese government and the African Development Bank and was attended by a large number of dignitaries, including 34 heads of state and government, 70 government ministers, and development partners committed to improving and transforming agriculture in Africa. The continent is currently experiencing the worst food crisis it has ever known, with estimates from the UN suggesting that a record 278 million Africans—or more than one in five—are currently going hungry. In the Dakar Declaration, which will be submitted to the African Union, leaders agreed to allocate at least 10% of their public expenditures to agriculture and to put into place efficient production strategies that would increase productivity and resilience in order to achieve self-sufficiency and food security. The goal for increasing food production in Africa by the continent and its allies was also emphasised by Dr Akinwumi Adesina, President of the Africa Development Bank Group, which plans to contribute $10 billion over five years. The Senegalese Prime Minister Amadou Ba also called Africans to come together in support of a common objective that was driven by Africans for Africans in the conviction that agriculture generates jobs, fosters prosperity, and enhances health. In attendance, Irish President Michael Higgins pleaded for international support and underlined the importance of eradicating hunger from Africa. In order to increase food security and build more resilient food systems in Sub-Saharan Africa, Kitty Van Den Heijden, Director-General for International Cooperation at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, reaffirmed her country’s commitment to investing an additional 450 million euros over the ensuing five years. Her country would also donate $30 million to the African Development Bank’s Emergency Food Production Facility. Additionally, countries like Germany and Canada as well as Dr Muhammed Al Jasser, President of the Islamic Development Bank, confirmed their commitment to aid the Feed Africa agenda.
Liberia’s President seeking second term in office
Liberia’s President George Weah declared on Monday while addressing the legislature that he would run for reelection on October 10. He pledged to work for transformation, peace, growth, and opportunity if granted the chance to serve a second term. Weah, a former international football player who spent his childhood in the poor districts of Monrovia, won the 2017 general election with the support of the underprivileged and young people.This was the nation’s first peaceful change of power in seven decades. Defending his first term, Weah said he made the country strong, stable, peaceful, and secure, and wants to continue this agenda. However, the opposition Unity Party leadership criticised him for poor leadership, irresponsible behaviour, lack of concern, financial mismanagement, and impunity. At the end of October, he left the country on autopilot mode, they argue, when he travelled abroad to Morocco, Egypt, France, Monaco, and the United States as well as to see his son play soccer in the December World Cup in Qatar and was out of the country for several weeks. At the time, Liberia, which is among the world’s poorest countries and suffering severely from the consequences of the Ukraine war, was experiencing shortages of essential goods and rising prices, which led to Liberians venting their anger on social media. Furthermore, Weah had failed to wage a strong war on corruption, a promise he made before he was elected. The West African country is ranked 136th out of 180 countries in Transparency International’s 2021 corruption perception index. Last year, the United States had imposed sanctions on three Liberian government officials, including Weah’s chief of staff, as there were allegations of being connected to multimillion-dollar contracts and at least $1.5 million in misappropriated public funds. Additionally, in 2018 in a corruption scandal the nation suffered a $100 million loss in newly printed central bank notes, which led to widespread accusations of misuse of public funds within Weah’s administration.
In Other News
Last Friday, Angola launched its first satellite Mission Control Centre (MCC). The official opening ceremony of the facility which is based in the capital Luanda was attended by various government officials alongside Angolan President João Lourenco. The control center’s main responsibility is to monitor the activities of the satellite “ANGOSAT 2,” which was launched on October 12 of last year. The satellite aims to enhance the country’s communications & technology industry and to position Angola as a driving force for the expansion of the continent’s digital single market.