The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved the mobilization of $1.13 billion in mixed financing to boost food security across Africa, targeting 24 countries to assist the continent mitigate rising food prices and inflation caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the climate crisis and the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The first round of approvals follows the AfDB’s establishment of the $1.5 billion African Emergency Food Production Facility in May this year to guarantee food security, nutrition and resilience.
The food security program, which was approved by the AfDB’s Board of Directors in July, will provide financing to eight countries in west Africa, five in east Africa, six in southern Africa, four in central Africa and one in north Africa.
“This is a landmark week for the AfDB and the African Emergency Food Production Facility,” stated AfDB Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development, Dr. Beth Dunford, adding that, “These programs will deliver much-needed climate-adapted seeds, access to affordable fertilizers and usher in policy reforms to enable the agriculture sector to supply immediate, medium, and long-term solutions to challenges faced in regional member countries.”
As Africa faces a shortage of at least 30 million tons of food, particularly staple crops such as wheat, maize and soybeans, the facility will enable the production of 38 million tons of food over the next two years through the provision of certified seeds and increased access to agricultural fertilizers to 20 million smallholder farmers throughout the continent.
In addition to facilitating the production of 11 million tons of wheat, 18 million tons of maize, 6 million tons of rice and 2.5 million tons of soybeans, the facility will support policy reform and governance, which will encourage investment in Africa’s agricultural sector.