The Africa Solidarity Trust Fund, an initiative aimed at providing food security and to eliminate rural poverty on the continent on Tuesday received a boost with a pledge of 17 million dollars.
The pledges were made at a high-level roundtable convened by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the Equatorial Guinea President, Obiang Mbasogo.
Newsmen report that the round table was held on the side-lines of the ongoing African Development Bank’s (AfDB) 2019 Annual Meetings in Malabo.
Angola pledged 10 million dollars, China 2.6 million dollars, France two million Euros, Equatorial Guinea two million dollars and Zimbabwe 100,000 dollars.
Speaking at the roundtable, Mbasogo said the “Fund is a turning point in the fight against food insecurity’’.
According to him, my tiny oil-rich nation has donated generously out of his oil revenues to show solidarity to African countries.
Newwmen report that the Fund, an initiative of UN FAO, received its start-up contribution of 30 million dollars from Equatorial Guinea, the host nation of this year’s meetings, while Angola gave 10 million dollars.
Its projects had been lauded for providing innovative African agriculture and food systems. Also speaking, Akinwumi Adesina, President of the AfDB, said Africa was being faced with challenges in the area of agriculture and food production, relying heavily on food imports.
“It is important that the Fund is showing that African countries are contributing to Africa as that links very closely to what we are doing.’’
Adesina, represented by the Vice President, Agriculture, Human and Social Development, AfDB, Jennifer Blanke said the bank’s commitment to providing farmers with technologies would help to improve their yields.
The FAO Director General, Jose Graziano da Silva said the Fund had led to the successful implantation of 18 projects that had benefited 41 countries.
Graziano da Silva, represented by Ms. Maria Semedo, the Deputy Director-General of FAO said thousands of people had also benefited from the Fund, including 160 households in Niger.
The FAO head also said that the Fund ensured a rapid response to populations affected by the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014. “We celebrate the success of the Fund, the excellent results of the Funds over the last five years is a living testimony,’’ he said.
He described it as a flagship initiative and one of the most successful funding initiatives of FAO, adding that the generosity of donors was unique evidence of strong solidarity among African countries.
The donor conference was attended by the presidents of Mauritania, Guinea Bissau, the Prime Minister of Eswatini, diplomats, finance ministers and banking institutions. The theme of this year’s meeting is “Regional Integration for Africa’s Economic Prosperity’’.
The Annual Meetings provide opportunities for experts, governments, businesses, civil society, think-tanks and the academia to share their candid assessments on regional integration efforts and dialogue on critical issues concerning Africa’s development. The meeting which opened on Monday with closed door sessions with dignitaries continues on Wednesday.