The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, and OCP Group, the world’s largest producer of phosphate-based fertilizer, are launching an $800 million ag finance platform to build sustainable food production and distribution systems in Africa, writes Lynda Kiernan-Stone at Global AgInvesting Media.
Agriculture accounts for approximately 20 percent of Africa’s GDP and more than 60 percent of its employment, showing just how vital it is to the continent and its people. And, while progress has undeniably been made in some regions, the challenges of hunger and food insecurity in Africa remain.
For instance, the mid-year update to The Global Report on Food Crises (GFRC) 2023, issued by the European Commission, stated that between 2022 and August 2023, Sri Lanka and Niger showed the greatest reduction in food insecurity with 2.4 million and 1.1 million people experiencing improved conditions, respectively. However, East Africa remains the hardest-hit region with almost 65 million people living with either high-or-acute levels of food insecurity, representing an increase of 8 million people since last year, largely due to ongoing conflicts in Sudan, which have displaced 3.5 million people since April 2023.
Part of the reason that these issues exist is due to the fact that Africa imports a large proportion of its food, making it less resilient to external shocks.
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Addressing these issues requires collaboration, sustained effort, and a focus on both short-term relief and the long-term strategies that address these pressing and complex challenges for millions of people across the continent.
The opportunity to reduce hunger and poverty in Africa through agricultural investment is enormous, and is key to transforming a widely subsistence agriculture sector into a commercially sustainable industry. But to realize these opportunities fully, it is essential that agricultural investment in Africa is well-targeted, sustainable, and inclusive.
“Agriculture is a critical sector for Africa, and we are thrilled to scale up our partnership with OCP to improve food production and attract investment to the continent,” said Makhtar Diop, managing director, IFC.
Read more at Global AgInvesting.