Last week in Lusaka, Zambia, a high-level dialogue meeting took place with the objective of examining the obstacles impeding agricultural advancement in Africa and finding solutions to unlock the sector. According to official statements, 28 finance and agriculture ministers, representatives from the World Bank and African Union (AU) and industry experts attended the two-day Africa Agricultural Policy Leadership Dialogue from Africa.
At the start of the meeting, Hakainde Hichilema, President of Zambia, stated that although agriculture is a significant means of subsistence and revenue in Africa, its efficacy has been persistently affected by several challenges.
According to Hichilema, the agricultural sector in Africa faces numerous challenges, including low levels of mechanization and irrigation, restricted availability of cost-effective agricultural financing and credit, and slow investment in research and development pursuits.
In his speech, Hichilema expressed his happiness about the meeting being held at a time when most African countries have embarked on much-needed policy and regulatory reforms aimed at ensuring food sufficiency, improved livelihoods as well as food and nutrition security.
“This dialogue will, therefore, give us an opportunity to begin to deliberate on the required actions and agricultural policy reforms which will unlock the continent’s vast potential, and ensure that Africa becomes a major force in the production and supply of food and non-food commodities,” he said.
As per his statement, Africa has not remained unscathed and has endured the ramifications of escalating prices of food and essential commodities resulting from the instabilities and uncertainties in the global supply chains. The statistical date indicates that over 140 million individuals in Africa are afflicted with acute food insecurity.
Hichilema also talked about the need to “reverse the trend” and ensure that the majority of the people have access to affordable, nutritious and safe food as well as improved livelihoods.
He urged African nations to formulate smart policies and make financial investments that will foster advancement and comprehensive involvement in the agricultural value chain.
According to Victoria Kwakwa, the Vice President of the World Bank for Eastern and Southern Africa, the African continent possesses great potential to feed not only itself, but also to supply food resources to other regions of the globe. However, she said that African nations should enhance the value of their agricultural products instead of exporting them in raw form.