Guests attend the Africa Food Security Leadership Dialogue in Kigali, capital of Rwanda, on Aug. 6, 2019. The African Union (AU) and its four multilateral development partners on Monday evening signed a communique in Kigali, promising to address food and nutrition security on the continent. (Photo by Cyril Ndegeya/Xinhua)
KIGALI, Aug. 6 (Xinhua) -- The African Union (AU) and its four multilateral development partners on Monday evening signed a communique in Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda, promising to address food and nutrition security on the continent.
The two-day African Food Security Leadership Dialogue strengthened the collaboration between the AU and its four partners, which supports the wider partnership among the AU, regional economic communities, AU member states and regional and international organizations across Africa.
The four partners supporting major food security programs in Africa -- the World Bank, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, the African Development Bank and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) recognized in the communique the need to galvanize collective efforts towards critical interventions.
They also recognized the need to coordinate better at country and regional levels and to scale-up the strong forms of coordination that have worked well, for example co-financing and parallel-financing agricultural investment projects and co-creating knowledge through research.
They pledged to build on existing efforts and jointly address the "deteriorating" food security situation in Africa to generate sustainable impact at scale and achieve results that are beyond the reach of any agencies or organizations.
Their actions will focus on collaboration in technical, institutional and policy domains.
Africa is the most food insecure region with about 256 million people facing undernutrition in 2018, according to the communique. The situation is getting worse in many parts of the continent because of the negative effects of climate change on agricultural productivity, natural resource degradation, rapid population growth, increasing fragility and insecurity and economic stagnation, it said.
The number of undernourished people in most sub-regions has been on the rise again since 2014. If the trend continues, the hard-won gains of previous years will be lost, it added.
Of the 50 most food insecure countries in the world, 31 are African countries. Therefore, a specific action is needed in Africa to ensure food security, IFAD president Gilbert Houngbo said after the signing.
Africa is off track with the Malabo Declaration targeting to eradicate hunger by 2025, and undernourishment has been rising again in many African countries after its signing in 2014, Rwandan President Paul Kagame said after the signing.
Undernourishment will negatively impact children throughout their lives, he said, adding that the entire human development agenda in Africa is "at risk" if the trend is left unchecked.
Delegates to the meeting, which ends on Tuesday, hope to uncover ways to adapt Africa's agriculture and food systems to climate change.
The meeting has brought together ministers of agriculture and finance, heads of international institutions and regional economic commissions, Nobel laureates and eminent scientists to help address Africa's worsening food security crisis under climate change.