New York, U.S:- Director General of Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development, Dr. Hiba Ahmed, addressed the 2022 UN’s General Assembly side event on: “Shock-Proofing Food Security in Africa: A Food Systems Approach”.
The event was co-organized by UNDP and the African Union Development Agency-NEPAD and consisted of two panels focusing on responding to and investing in Food Insecurity in Africa.
ISFD Director General, Dr. Hiba Ahmed, participated in the second panel where she highlighted ISFD and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB)’s role in reducing poverty and addressing food insecurity.
She confirmed the commitment of IsDB to addressing the current food insecurity crisis and narrowing the financing gap by approving a US$10.54 billion package for the Food Security Response Program (FSRP).
The IsDB program is designed not only to address the immediate impact of the current food insecurity crisis but also the medium to long-term underlying structural challenges threatening food and nutrition security.
Dr. Hiba Ahmed further indicated that IsDB’s current portfolio in agriculture and rural development is more than US$4 billion, 41% of which is in Africa.
She also pointed out that the IsDB plans in 2023-2025 are to support its member countries in Africa by building resilient food systems while promoting climate-smart agriculture that enhances agricultural productivity and food security.
The ISFD D.G. highlighted that technology could play a vital role in the development of agricultural and food systems if it becomes a policy priority. She mentioned that increasing the investment in agricultural research and technology in many African countries could play a pivotal role in accelerating food security across Africa.
Given that 80% of African farmers are smallholders (2 hectares and below), Dr. Ahmed emphasized that improving smallholder access to remunerative markets, supporting agriculture value chains with private sector participation, and focusing on employment generation for youth and women should be the policy direction to achieve the SDGs.
Dr. Ahmed concluded her remarks by detailing some of the ways improved food security could accelerate the attainment of the SDGs especially: No Poverty (SDG1) and Zero hunger (SDG 2).
The opening remarks at the side event were made by Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa (ASG and Director, Regional Bureau for Africa, UNDP) and Ms. Nardos Bekele Thomas (CEO, African Union Development Agency-NEPAD). This was followed by a keynote statement presented by Mr. Travis Adkins (CEO, African Development Foundation).