A number of multilateral development banks and development partners have pledged over Ksh. 1.841 trillion ($17 billion) in financing to address rising hunger on the African continent, and to improve food security.

The funds were pledged on the final day of a 2-day dialogue dubbed Feeding Africa: leadership to scale up successful innovations. The African Development Bank (AfDB) and the UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) hosted the event in partnership with the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) and the CGIAR System Organization.

17 African heads of state signed on to the commitment to boost agricultural production by doubling current productivity levels by scaling up agro-technologies. This will include investing in access to markets, and promoting agricultural research and development.

Of the overall amount pledged, more than Ksh. 1.083 trillion ($10 billion) came from the AfDB, which committed Ksh. 170 billion ($1.57 billion) on scaling up 10 selected priority commodities over the next 5 years. This amount will help countries achieve self-sufficiency.

Another $8.83 billion will go towards building strong value chains for these commodities over the next five years. This will include programs to create opportunities for young people, particularly women.

AfDB President Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina said, “Let us now create today, a stronger partnership: a partnership for greater scale; a partnership to take technologies and innovations to hundreds of millions of farmers.”

IFAD aired its intention to provide an additional Ksh. 162.5 billion ($1.5 billion) to support national efforts to transform food and agricultural systems in Africa over the next three years. The organization is helping to develop a growing pipeline of investments to restore land, create jobs and build resilience to climate change in the Sahel region. This will contribute to the Green Great Wall objectives, and will create 10 million jobs in the region by 2030.

The Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA), committed up to $1.5 billion over the period 2020-2024 in agriculture. The Islamic Development Bank Group pledged Ksh. 379 billion ($3.5 billion) to develop the agriculture sector in Africa in the next three years. It said these investments will develop commodity value chains for both staple food and cash crops.

In an additional show of solidarity, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, joining a coalition of development partners, declared that it will invest Ksh. 70.6 trillion ($652) million in the next three years. This will support agricultural research and development initiatives in Africa. This funding is expected to empower 300 million farmers with a host of new innovations.

President Macky Sall of Senegal summed up interventions by African heads of state on with the following seven-point action list

  1. Accelerate agricultural production by taking technologies to scale.
  2. Increase investment in research and development.
  3. Optimize technology.
  4. Improve business language in agriculture to open up to the world.
  5. Support access to markets and the installation of basic infrastructure and equipment.
  6. Invest in new businesses to transform agricultural produce to support small producers.
  7. Create a financing facility for food security and nutrition in Africa.

The outcomes from the Leaders’ Dialogue will lay the foundation for Africa to present a unified voice to step up efforts and partnerships towards reaching the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.