President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, says 283 million people still go to bed hungry in Africa.
He said this at the Norman Borlaug International Dialogue, World Food Prize 2023, in Des Moines, Iowa, United States of America, on Friday.
Vice President Kashim Shettima, who is attending the event in pursuance of the food security and diversification policy of the Tinubu administration, had on Wednesday delivered his keynote address at the ongoing Dialogue.
Delivering his own speech titled, “From Dakar to Des Moines,” Adesina said alongside the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), AfDB has voted $1 billion to further deliver special agro-industrial processing zones in 24 states of Nigeria.
This is in addition to an initial $520 million voted by the development partners for the development of eight special agro-industrial processing zones in Nigeria.
He said the decision to pump such huge funds into Nigeria’s agribusiness was part of the resolve to develop Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZs) in 13 countries.
Explaining that it was the core of the food and agriculture delivery compacts from the Dakar 2 Summit held earlier this year in Dakar, Senegal, the AfDB President said, “We are investing heavily in the development of SAPZs to support the development of agricultural value chains, food processing and value addition, enabling infrastructure and logistics to promote local, regional, and international trade in food.
“The African Development Bank Group is investing $853 million in the development of the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones, and it has mobilized additional co-financing of $661 million, for a total commitment of $1.5 billion. We are deploying effective partnerships at scale. We are currently implementing 25 Special Agro-industrial Processing Zones in 13 countries.
“For example, the African Development Bank, Islamic Development Bank, and the International Fund for Agricultural Development provided $520 million for the development of 8 special agro-industrial processing zones in Nigeria. The second phase of the program aims to mobilize an additional $1 billion to deliver special agro-industrial processing zones in 24 States of Nigeria.
“Despite much progress made in African agriculture, 283 million people still go to bed hungry in Africa, about a third of the 828 million people that suffer hunger globally.”
He however described the Norman Borlaug International Dialogue World Food Prize 2023, as a “journey and narrative of how we are combining the power of science, technology, policies, and politics to ensure that Africa fully unlocks its agricultural potential, and feeds itself, with pride.”
The AfDB President thanked Vice President Kashim Shettima, and the President of Ethiopia, Sahle-Work Zewde, for participating in the global event, saying their presence is an indication “that Africa has the political will and is fully ready to tackle food insecurity and make hunger history” on the continent.