Productive transformation remains very crucial to address food insecurity in Africa worsened by COVID-19, a senior African Union (AU) official said Thursday.
The remark was made by Albert Muchanga, the Commissioner for Economic Development, Trade, Industry and Mining at the AU Commission while addressing a press conference on the sidelines of the AU Executive Council meeting.
The two-day ministerial meeting that preceded the Assembly of Heads of State and Government, slated for February 5-to-6, discussed a host of issues addressing the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the increasing threats of insecurity from conflicts and terrorism, the unconstitutional changes of governments in African states and the socio-economic development on the continent.
“COVID-19 is exacerbating the already grave situation of food insecurity and malnutrition in Africa,” said Muchanga.
Muchanga stressed that Africa’s food import bill has more than tripled over the past few decades, in which much of the imported food could be produced locally, while eventually generating jobs and incomes for the continent’s populace.
“With the development of regional and continental supply chains, food imports and exports across Africa could contribute to increased intra-Africa trade flows,” Muchanga said.
“To address the problem of food insecurity, productive transformation remains very crucial. In order to accelerate productivity growth in Africa, it is equally important to invest in research and development, extension services, improve the road infrastructure, and among others reduce post-harvest food losses and other forms of food wastage,” he added.
The two-day AU Executive Council meeting is being held under the theme of the year “Building resilience in nutrition on the African continent: Accelerate the Human Capital, Social and Economic Development.”
Muchanga further emphasized the crucial need to spur infrastructure developments in Africa so as to strengthen intra-Africa trade, and eventually bring much-needed development to the continent. Enditem