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General News of Thursday, 17 July 2014


Boost investment in African-led research – Kofi Annan

Former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has told the West to engage in the transformation of Africa's agricultural sector by among other things boosting investments.

Mr Annan says Africa is expected to become a major contributor to the global food supply system.

“It is therefore essential for the developed world to engage in the transformation of African agriculture and food systems, not just as a donor but more importantly as a viable business partner,” he said in an interview with FutureFood2050, a programme by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), as regards food security on the African continent.

Mr Annan noted that since his days as UN Secretary General, he had dedicated himself to the fight against hunger and malnutrition.

“I realized early on that the eradication of hunger is not just an end in itself: It is a first step toward sustainable development and progress in general, for a hungry man is not a free man. He cannot focus on anything else but securing his next meal.”

He said that led him to commission programmes such as African Green Revolution “to transform African agriculture and increase productivity to achieve a prosperous and food-secure Africa."

He recommended that African countries need to first and foremost put smallholder farmers at the center of all policies, promote visionary leadership in the agric sector and accept that nutrition is critical to the people’s health and development.

He said one of the major challenges facing the African continent is “providing opportunity and creating decent work for the growing population and its large percentage of young people—many of [whom] live in rural areas.

“African nations and their partners have to ensure that agriculture and food systems are treated as potentially profitable and viable business to become more appealing to young people.”

He called for the involvement of Africa in the value chain of the agricultural sector.

“It is equally important that developed countries remove unfair agricultural subsidies and eliminate existing tariffs and non-tariff barriers to trade.”

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