Non-Aligned Movement has called on the international community, including international financial institutions as well as regional development banks, to support efforts of developing countries. In this context, NAM recognizes the significance of African Development Bank to promote regional and sub-regional development initiatives in the countries of Africa.
The African Development Bank Group is Africa’s premier development finance institution. It comprises three distinct entities: the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Development Fund (ADF) and the Nigeria Trust Fund (NTF). The Bank contributes to the economic development and the social progress of its 54 regional member states.
One of the major objectives of African Development Bank is the strengthening of agriculture and food security through an integrated value chain approach can improve the livelihoods of Africans who live in rural areas. One of the major priorities of AfDB is to invest in regional infrastructure and engage in policy dialogue to remove trade barriers to importing food and inputs such as fertilizers, in order to help restrict food price volatility and reduce food insecurity.
Feed Africa Strategy is one of the important strategies devised by the AfDB. Launched in 2015, the Strategy targets to invest $24 billion into African agriculture over a ten-year period. The aim is that of improving agricultural policies, markets, infrastructure and institutions to ensure that agricultural value chains are well developed and that improved technologies are made available to reach several million farmers.
STAARS project is a major multiyear (2014-19) initiatives of AfDB aimed at supporting structural transformation of African agriculture and rural spaces. STAARS has the following three goals: 1) to develop policy-oriented agricultural research in Africa; 2) to reinforce capacities in agricultural research in Africa; and 3) to increase policy outreach of agricultural research in Africa.
AfDB also cooperates with institutions like Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), a specialized agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger and helps countries to modernize and improve agriculture, forestry and fisheries practices and ensure good nutrition for all. Long term collaboration between the African Development Bank and FAO began in 1968. Since then, FAO has provided technical assistance to the formulation of 161 projects financed by the Bank, valued at over $3.7 billion and representing about 21 percent of the Bank’s support to the agricultural sector.
Recent collaboration between the Bank and the FAO include project formulation support in Tanzania and Equatorial Guinea; technical assistance for the development of Blue economy programmes in Côte d’Ivoire, Morocco and Cape Verde, feasibility studies for agricultural transformation centres in Zambia, Tanzania and Côte d’Ivoire; and participation in the African Leaders for Nutrition initiative. In August 2018, AfDB and FAO agreed to boost joint efforts aimed at catalysing agriculture sector investments in Africa to end hunger and malnutrition and increase prosperity throughout the continent. In terms of the agreement, the African Development Bank and the FAO committed to raise up to $100 million over five years, to support joint activities.
The strengthened partnership between the African Development Bank and FAO envisages a collaborative programme of action with a series of outcomes, including: better and more effective Bank-financed investment operations; increased public-private-partnership investments; a better investment climate and portfolio performance; and, advocacy and joint resources mobilization. FAO’s technical assistance would cover areas such as sustainable agricultural intensification and diversification, scaling up value chain innovations, youth in agriculture and agribusiness, agricultural statistics, climate smart agriculture, food security and nutrition, agri-food system, food safety and standards, women’s economic empowerment, promotion of responsible private investments, resilience and risk management and capacity building for transition states. The collaborative programme would be created through an initial financial contribution of up to $15 million by the two institutions. African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina highlighted the significance of the cooperation thus: “The signing of this supplementary agreement is a milestone moment in the relationship between the African Development Bank and FAO. It signals our joint commitment to accelerate the delivery of high quality programs and increased investment for public-private-partnerships in Africa’s agriculture sector”.