African and non-regional donors have pledged $17 million to replenish the Africa Solidarity Trust Fund, an initiative which aims to provide food security and eliminate rural poverty on the continent.
The pledges were made at a high-level donor round table convened by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and Equatorial Guinea President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, on the sidelines of the African Development Bank’s (AfDB’s) 2019 Annual Meetings underway in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.
Opening the conference at the Sipopo conference center Equatorial Guinea, President Mbasogo said the Fund illustrated “a turning point in the fight against food insecurity”, adding that his tiny oil-rich nation has donated generously out of its oil revenues to show solidarity to African countries.
The Fund, an initiative of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, received its start-up contribution of $30 million from Equatorial Guinea, the host nation of this year’s meetings and Angola, which gave $10million. Its projects have been lauded for providing innovative solutions for African agriculture and food systems.
Speaking on behalf of AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina, his Vice President Agriculture, Human and Social Development, Jennifer Blanke, said Africa faced challenges in agriculture and food production, relying heavily on food imports.
”It’s so important that ASTF is showing that African countries are contributing to Africa..that links very closely to what we are doing,” Blanke said, adding that the Bank’s commitment to providing farmers with technologies to help improve their yields.
The donor conference has in attendance presidents of Mauritania, Guinea Bissau, the prime minister of Eswatini and several high-ranking diplomats, ministers and development and banking institutions.
The theme of the Bank’s meetings is “Regional Integration for Africa’s Economic Prosperity”. The push for regional integration has gained momentum with the ratification of the agreement on the African Continental Free Trade Area( AfCFTA) in March 2018, which is now at the threshold of its launch in July.