Amid global climate crises and hunger, Africa is building a better food future

Humanity faces a climate emergency that is hitting Africa harder than anywhere else, even though the continent contributes only 4% 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 present Africa with an opportunity to radically transform its food systems, experts from the world said. GLF Africa Digital Conference 2022.

The continent has a multitude of solutions to regain its food sovereignty, but these solutions must be scaled up. More than 200 speakers issued a rallying call for climate and biodiversity investments, equitable access to land, and shorter, 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.

“Never before have we faced so many global crises simultaneously as we do today. Today, we must not only take action against one of the worst global food crises ever, but we must also make our food systems resilient to future crises. Let’s see this as an opportunity,” said Jochen Flasbarth, State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). Germany currently holds the presidency of the G7.

“Africa’s youth generation has awakened and we are committed to do our utmost to build a prosperous Africa. For this, we need African leaders to actively promote investment in the agricultural sector. After all, farming is the coolest job in the world. Africa’s agribusiness will be worth $1 trillion by 2030, and everyone needs to eat,” said Ineza Gracecoordinator of the Loss and Damage Youth Coalition.

Hosted by the World Landscapes Forum in partnership with BMZ and various partners, the fully online event on September 15, 2022 brought together more than 8,300 registered participants from 122 countries, including entrepreneurs, scientists, young activists, restoration practitioners and the most high levels of government. It reached over 26 million people via social media.

With 31 sessions, the release of five white paperslaunches, virtual tour, job fair and creative exhibitions and performances, the conference provided essential information on how to build a resilient food future in Africa before the UN Climate Conference COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

Key recommendations from experts across Africa included:

  • Africa is endowed with rich and diverse ecosystems that provide essential services to secure the continent’s food, water, energy, health and livelihoods. In rural areas of the continent, more than 62% of the population depends directly on these services. As such, biodiversity and its value must be integrated into economic and financial decision-making.
  • To ensure sustainable land management, local people must have equitable access to land and natural resources, regardless of gender and age.
  • Young people have a crucial role to play in shaping the continent’s food future, but most of Africa’s agricultural development programs lack policies that explicitly target them.
  • Smallholder farmers contribute at least 70% of Africa’s food supply, but they face multiple barriers, including limited access to markets, policy inaction and technology deficits that limit productivity and profitability. Sustainable finance and development pathways can make a difference by improving land use for African food systems and creating green jobs and value chains for commodities like cocoa, soybeans, palm oil , fruits and vegetables, with positive effects on climate change and biodiversity. , water use, rural poverty and gender inequality.
  • Africa today only receives 3% of global climate finance even though it is one of the continents most affected by climate change. The financing gap for small and medium agricultural enterprises in sub-Saharan Africa is estimated at more than $100 billion a year, and Africa will need more than $3 trillion in climate finance by 2030 to meet the targets. of the Paris Agreement.
  • The conference featured a plenary session organized by the WEF-funded Food Systems, Land Use and Restoration Impact (FOLUR) Program, which aims to transform the environmental footprint of agriculture through 27 national projects targeting production landscapes of eight major commodities, including cocoa, coffee, maize, livestock, palm oil, rice, soybeans and wheat. The plenary presented recently launched national FOLUR projects in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, the two largest cocoa exporters in the world, and presented lessons and perspectives on how to achieve value chains of cocoa products. green bases and without deforestation.

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Virtual tours Kenya and Cameroon – https://youtu.be/_KAYmyI3J2U

Opening Plenary: Painting a Resilient and Equitable Food Future –https://youtu.be/NGx_W4ZciFg

Land, food and climate: African solutions for food and climate resilience – https://youtu.be/NGx_W4ZciFg

Jennifer C. Burleigh