The United States has announced support for the African Development Bank’s initiative to significantly increase food production in Africa to avert the looming food crisis caused by the Russia-Ukraine war.
The Bank Group’s $1.5 billion African Emergency Food Production Facility, approved by its Board of Directors in May, will provide 20 million smallholder farmers with climate-smart, certified wheat, maize, soy and other staple crop seeds, as well as more affordable fertilizer and extension services. This will allow Africa to rapidly produce over the next four farming seasons an additional 38 million tons of food worth $12 billion.
At a summit of G7 leaders on Tuesday, U.S. President Joseph Biden and fellow G7 leaders announced a contribution of $4.5 billion to address global food security, with the United States meeting 50% of that commitment. The Biden administration announced that it will invest $760 million of its contribution to combat the effects of high food, fuel, and war-driven fertilizer prices in those countries that need this support most.
The United States will also support the African Development Bank’s Africa Disaster Risk Financing program, which helps African governments respond to severe food insecurity caused by extreme weather events like drought by facilitating access to disaster risk products such as drought or flooding insurance. The African Development Bank launched the program in 2018 to boost countries’ resilience to climate shocks and it operates in almost a dozen African countries.
The President of the African Development Bank, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina said: “I am delighted about the significant announcement and contributions made by President Joe Biden and fellow G7 leaders, to tangibly support the work of the African Development Bank and to address global food security.”
“The U.S. government’s multi-pronged response to global food security challenges, which entails support for some of the African Development Bank’s own innovative programs, is a tremendous boost to our efforts and other institutions who are working hard to support African countries at this particular time of need. We warmly and wholeheartedly embrace the support by the United States and other G7 member nations,” Adesina added.
In May, the United States chaired a Global Food Security Call to Action ministerial meeting where it launched the Roadmap for Global Food Security. Ninety-four countries endorsed the roadmap, which affirms a commitment to act with urgency, at scale, and in concert, to respond to the urgent food security and nutrition needs of millions of people in vulnerable situations around the world.
Adesina was among key speakers at that meeting, where he announced that the African Development Bank would provide $1.3 billion of its own resources to the African Emergency Food Production Facility’s $1.5 billion budget.
Africa relies heavily on cereal exports from Russia and Ukraine. Because of the war, the continent faces a shortage of at least 30 million metric tons of food, especially wheat, maize, and soybeans imported from both countries.
However, the Bank’s African Emergency Food Production program will see a total of 38 million tons of food produced. This will include 11 million tons of wheat, 18 million tons of maize, six million tons of rice and 2.5 million tons of soybeans. The Facility will build on the Bank’s remarkable success of its Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) platform. Launched in 2019, TAAT delivered heat-tolerant wheat seed varieties to 1.8 million farmers in seven countries. It also increased wheat production by 2.7 million tonnes, with a value of $840 million.
The African Development Bank will provide more affordable fertilizer to smallholder farmers over the next four farming seasons, by using its convening influence with major fertilizer manufacturers, loan guarantees, provisions for “smart subsidies’ to farmers embracing digital technologies, and other financial instruments. The Facility also aims to secure African government commitments toward policy reform that creates a more welcoming investment and business environment across the continent’s food value chain.
President Biden also announced $2.76 billion in additional U.S. government funding commitments to help protect the world’s most vulnerable populations and mitigate the impacts of the war in Ukraine on growing food insecurity and malnutrition. These new investments will support efforts in more than 47 countries and regional organizations, and strengthen regional plans to address increasing needs.
Source African Development Bank Group