U.S Secretary of State, Antony Blinken on Wednesday, January 24 commended the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group’s efforts toward helping Africa feed itself and the rest of the world.
Blinken, in a statement issued by the AfDB, said he visited the Bank’s President, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
The two met at the headquarters of AfricaRic. This is a pan-African centre of excellence for rice research, development, and capacity building that implements Bank agricultural programme.
During the meeting, the two leaders agreed that the U.S will work with the AfDB to identify opportunities to partner. They can partner with the US State Department’s Vision for Adapted Crops and Soils (VACS) activities and develop an investment strategy
U.S Positive Engagements in Africa
The new development comes in the highlight of Africa’s efforts to feed Itself and the rest of the eorld. Likewise, the U.S envoy welcomed Increased Support and Investment in African Initiatives.
At the same time, United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken praised the African Development Bank Group for the exceptional efforts it is undertaking to help Africa feed itself and the rest of the world.
“Extraordinary work is being done to get to a place where Africa feeds itself and a place where Africa feeds the world. I’m convinced that can happen,” Secretary of State Blinken said.
AfDP President thanked the US secretary of State for visiting the AfDB and it’s work terming the visit as historic in driving momentum for it’s work in Africa.
“This is the first time that a US Secretary of State would visit the African Development Bank and its work. Secretary Blinken’s visit is historic and provides great momentum for our work to feed Africa.
I applaud Secretary Blinken’s strong leadership and commitment to food security and look forward to working closely with him and the US government to advance our joint efforts to support Africa to feed itself and help feed the world,” Adesina stated.
More so, Adesina thanked the work President Biden is doing for global food security. This is especially in partnership the AfDB shares with the US Government in helping to move forward on food security in Africa.
U.S Grant to AfDB
Dr. Adesina also thanked Secretary Blinken for a new grant of $9.5 million to support the Bank’s Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation initiative, or TAAT.
The grant is a part of the larger US Government “Feed the Future” global hunger initiative. The grant will support the second phase of the Bank programme called TAAT II.
More over, the grant will help African countries increase food production. At the same time, introduce climate-smart technologies, and expand extension services.
Currently, TAAT has deployed climate-resilient agricultural technologies. On the other hand, it has deployed fertilizers to 13 million African farmers in 40 African countries to help boost the continent’s food production and food security. The USAID grant will help expand the reach of TAAT Initiatives to Africa
Initiatives to Africa
U.S will work with the AfDB to identify opportunities to partner with the US State Department’s Vision. More so, for Adapted Crops and Soils (VACS) activities and develop an investment strategy.
TAAT aims to double the productivity of staple crops, livestock, and fisheries. This will be done by making proven technologies available to more than 40 million agricultural producers by 2025. This will produce an additional 120 million tons of food.
Commending the African Development Bank President Dr. Adesina for his global leadership.
“I applaud the Bank and your leadership for the powerful and inspiring impact of your initiatives..,” Secretary Blinken stated.
Beyond crops such as rice, Blinken noted that the Biden administration is convinced that there is tremendous potential in investing in the production of crops. This is especially to crops that are climate-resilient and are highly nutritious including some of Africa’s neglected traditional foods.
The Bank launched the AfricaRice initiative in 2018 to boost rice production. It now has 28 country members across Africa with some 15 of those expecting to shortly reach rice self-sufficiency.
“Since 2018 rice yields have increased by 25% and livelihoods by more than 31%,” said AfricaRice Director General Dr. Baboucarr Manneh, who also took part in the visit.
U.S is currently the second-largest shareholder of all African Development Bank member countries. Likewise, it’s the largest contributor in cumulative terms to the AfDB, which provides concessional funding to Africa’s poorest countries.
Sustainable impact of United States investment in Bank operations
During the visit, President Adesina highlighted the sustainable impact of United States investment in Bank operations. This investments align with shared priorities in Africa.
U.S Government and AfDB share a long-standing, results-oriented track record of collaboration on several issues, including:
Agricultural Transformation: The US Administration also recently pledged support for the Africa Disaster Risk Financing Programme (ADRiFi). This is important in helping African nations be more resilient to climate shocks like flooding and drought.
Corridors: The US and the African Development Bank are among the signatories to a memorandum of understanding. The MoU joins global partners to mobilize resources for the Lobito Corridor.
The programme will also provide opportunities for agricultural value chain development that use the transport infrastructure along the Lobito corridor. The Bank has committed $500 million to support this project.
The Bank is also working with the US and other development partners to approve and fund corridors across the continent.
The African Development Bank Group is contributing to the sustainable economic development and social progress of African countries.