The Director-General of the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), QU Dongyu, has urged Africa to stand firm in facing many challenges on the continent amid worsening hunger crisis. He maintained that meeting Africa’s overlapping challenges and realising its enormous potential requires extraordinary efforts and new ways of working together. Dongyu said this, as he opened the 32nd Session of the Regional Conference for Africa (ARC32) of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations. The regional conference, held in Equatorial Guinea’s capital of Malabo and online, placed the spotlight on the FAO Strategic Framework 2022-2031 and its efforts to transform agrifood systems to be more efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable through the Four Betters: Better Production, Better Nutrition, a Better Environment and a Better Life for all by leaving no one behind.
The ministerial meeting was taking place as the continent’s aim of ending hunger by 2025, as well as FAO’s efforts to support members achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, face an unprecedented confluence of obstacles. According to the statement, apart from climate crisis, long-standing regional conflicts, the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), and severe drought were tightening grip on East Africa. It noted that most recently, the war in Ukraine was severely limiting the supply of wheat to Egypt and nearby countries, pushing up bread prices in the north of the continent. It also noted that the number of people going hungry in Sub-Saharan Africa was on the rise again after years of decline. According to the latest numbers available, 282 million people on the continent, or over one-fifth of the population, do not have enough food, representing a rise of 46 million from 2019.