ADDIS ABABA – Africa is not on track to achieve zero hunger by 2030, a top UN regional official said, during a meeting that reviewed the progress made by the continent towards attaining that goal so far.
The review conducted almost six years after the international community agreed to implement the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – whose objectives include tackling food insecurity and poor nutrition.
“The results remain unsatisfactory and there are many challenges due to climate change, the poor economic situation and the negative impacts of COVID 19, as well as the lack of public investment,” said Abebe Haile-Gabriel, regional representative of Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
Abebe, however, said the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) was a unique opportunity for the transformation of the continent’s food system.
To address the issue of hunger in Africa, FAO’s representative for Africa said political will and commitment at the highest level was key, adding national and local level actions and investments were also critical.
He said there was an urgent need for the continent to build back and forward better after the COVID-19 pandemic, with governments being called on to invest in social protection measures to save the most vulnerable in society.
This week’s meeting was co-organized by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the World Food Program (WFP), in collaboration with the DR Congo, the current chair of African Union, as part of the 7th Session of the Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (ARFSD).
The side event provided a platform for member States to reflect and share on transformative actions and investments that will facilitate the building of Africa’s food systems better towards meeting the aspirations and goals of the 2030 Agenda and the African Union’s Agenda 2063.
Chris Toe of the WFP urged African countries to prioritize and scale up investments in rural transformation, sustainable infrastructure and human capital development as they work towards eliminating hunger and food insecurities.
This will not only help to sustain ongoing progress, but also assist in the continent’s quest to achieve zero hunger as espoused in the SDGs and Africa’s 2025 commitment to end hunger and Agenda 2063 aspirations, he said.