AfCFTA Secretariat Promises to Improve Africa’s Food Security
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) secretariat will prioritize intraregional agricultural trade to unlock the region’s agricultural potential and achieve regional food security, Wamkele Mene, the secretary-general of the secretariat, said Thursday.
Mene made the vow in his opening remarks at the 7th African Leadership Forum in the Ghanaian capital of Accra, stressing the need to reverse the continent’s food import bill by utilizing its abundant arable lands to become self-sufficient in food production.
The AfCFTA chief lamented that despite Africa’s vast potential for food production, the continent remains a net food importer with demand for commodities such as cereals, meat, dairy products, fats, oils, and sugar, exceeding domestic supply.
“Many African countries import food from outside the continent when there is surplus food available for trade in some neighboring African countries, and intra-African agricultural trade remains below 20 percent compared to more than 60 percent for Europe and Asia,” Mene said.
He said continental and regional trade integration would play a critical role in reversing this trend and help to improve food security and sustainability on the continent, urging African leaders to accelerate measures on dismantling barriers that inhibit intra-African trade in agricultural produce and products, increasing investment in agro-processing and climate-resilient agriculture.
The two-day forum, under the theme of “Promoting intra-African trade to unlock agricultural potential in Africa,” brought together former and current African leaders to discuss and exchange ideas on ways to address pertinent challenges facing Africa.