Photo: ©FAO/Giulio Napolitano

Empowering women in agriculture is a vital step in eradicating hunger in Africa.

25 January 2018, Rome – The Summit of the African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, is an important event that brings leaders together to discuss issues vital to the continent’s progress and prosperity. In that framework, several events related to ending hunger and boosting nutrition will be held on the margins of the Summit, and at which the United Nations will be represented. 

FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva is travelling to Addis Ababa from 26-28 January. The highlight of the Director-General’s mission will be the high-level meeting Achieving Zero Hunger in Africa by 2025, on Saturday 27 January. The meeting is co-organized by the AU Commission and Ethiopia’s Ministry of Agriculture with support from FAO and the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).

The ambitious target of ending hunger in Africa by 2025 is currently not on track. FAO’s 2017 State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report found that despite a prolonged decline, world hunger is on the rise again. The increase is linked to conflicts and drought that affected many countries and hit rural areas particularly hard.

Ending hunger in Africa by 2025

The high-level meeting is the follow-up to a conference held in July 2013 in Addis Ababa during which the African Union, FAO and the Lula Institute launched an initiative aimed at eradicating hunger in Africa by 2025. A year later, the results of that meeting were consolidated through the Malabo Declaration, backed by African leaders. Five years on, Saturday’s meeting brings together the original attendees and other stakeholders to assess efforts so far, renew commitments and accelerate progress.

Participants at the high-level event will include the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia Hailermariam Desalegn, and leaders from the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the New Partnership for Africa’s Development  (NEPAD), ECA, and others. Former President of Nigeria Olusegun Obasanjo and former President of Brazil and World Food Prize winner Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva will also attend. Former President Obasanjo is a champion of empowering rural women in agriculture, which is a vital step towards eradicating hunger. Brazil sets an inspiring example after more than 30 million Brazilians were lifted out of extreme poverty in a 10-year period under their “Zero Hunger” programme, and is active in sharing its successes through south-south cooperation.  

FAO in West Africa

Also on the sidelines of the AU Summit, the Director-General will sign an agreement with the Government of Senegal for the opening of a new FAO Sub-regional Office for West Africa in Dakar. The President of Senegal, Macky Sall, as well as other West African Heads of State will attend the signing ceremony on Sunday 28 January. The office will foster FAO’s presence at the sub-regional level, and aims to further strengthen the long-standing collaboration between FAO and West African countries on food security, nutrition, agriculture and rural development.

Empowering women and boosting nutrition

On Saturday 27 January, the Director-General will also attend an event on the Empowering Women in Agriculture (EWA) initiative, led by the former President Obasanjo.

On Monday, FAO Deputy Director-General Maria Helena Semedo will attend a meeting that is expected to endorse the African Leaders for Nutrition Initiative by the African Heads of State. The Initiative is intended to catalyze and sustain high-level political advocacy and build on the growing international commitments to tackle malnutrition on the African continent.     


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