KABANDA CHULU, Lusaka
AFRICAN countries should seize the opportunity presented by the Russian invasion of Ukraine to radically transform its food systems, say experts at the Global Landscape Forum (GLF) Africa 2022 Digital Conference.
The experts made the call in a statement issued yesterday after a virtual meeting held in Bonn, Germany, at which over 200 speakers collectively stated that Africa is building a brighter food future amid global climate and hunger crises.
“Humanity is facing a climate emergency that is hitting Africa harder than anywhere else, even though the continent contributes just four percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. “The war in Ukraine is causing food and fuel prices to rise dramatically, making it harder than ever for African countries to feed their citizens with food imports.
But the crisis could also offer an opportunity for Africa to radically transform its food systems,” it read in part. The experts noted that the continent has a multitude of solutions to take back its food sovereignty, but these solutions need to be scaled up.
“We need heightened investments into climate and biodiversity interventions, ensuring equitable access to land, and shorter but greener value chains. “Not only can this transformation build the resilience of communities and ecosystems, but it can also mitigate the effects of climate change,” it stated.
Officiating at the meeting, German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) state secretary Jochen Flasbarth said never before has the world been facing as many global crises simultaneously as today.
“Today, we not only need to take action against one of the worst global food crises ever, but we also need to make our food systems resilient to future crises. Let us consider this as an opportunity,” he said.
And Loss and Damage Youth Coalition coordinator, Ineza Grace, said the African youth generation has awakened but needs to be committed to doing all it can to build a prosperous continent. “For that, we need African leaders to actively promote investment in the agriculture sector.
After all, agriculture is the coolest job in the world.
African agribusiness will be worth US$1 trillion by 2030, and everyone does need to eat,” she said. The meeting was hosted by the Global Landscapes Forum in partnership with BMZ and various partners, and it brought together over 8,300 registered participants from 122 countries, including entrepreneurs, scientists, youth activists, restoration practitioners and the highest levels of government.
It reached over 26 million people through social media. The conference further provided critical insights on how to build a resilient food future in Africa ahead of the UN COP27 climate conference in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, later this year.
KABANDA CHULU, Lusaka