Malabo, Equatorial Guinea -- The FAO-managed Africa Solidarity Trust Fund today gave a green light to four new, continent-spanning projects at a ceremony during the African Union Summit, being held here this week.
The President of Equatorial Guinea, Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, a key supporter of the fund, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon, and FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva were in attendance.
The projects, worth $16 million, will span 24 different countries in West, Central, East, and Southern Africa, focusing on youth employment and malnutrition, transboundary animal diseases and food safety and urban food security.
'In Africa we see the growing commitment of countries not only to improving their own food security, but that of their neighbours as well,' said FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva. 'The Africa Solidarity Trust Fund is a concrete manifestation of Africa's willingness to work together to guarantee the food security of the entire continent,' he added.
'I commend the African Union and heads of state who are using the opportunity of the 2014 Year of Agriculture and Food Security in Africa to adopt the resolution of ending hunger by 2025,' said Ban Ki-moon.
“By Africans for Africans” initiative expands
The four new subregional projects formalized today will cover the following areas of work:
Enhancing urban food security in Central Africa by increasing the availability of locally produced food for people living in towns and cities. Recipient countries: Cameroon, Chad, Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Sao Tome and Principe.
Promoting greater diversity in agricultural production and activities to improve nutrition and to offer better job prospects to young people in Eastern Africa. Recipient countries: Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda.
Strengthening controls on food safety, plant and animal pests and diseases to boost agricultural productivity and trade in Southern Africa. Recipient countries: Angola, Botswana, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Creating more and better jobs for young people in West Africa through sustainable aquaculture and Cassava activities. Recipient countries: Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Nigeria and Senegal.
About the fund
The Africa Solidarity Trust Fund was launched in 2013 as a unique Africa-led initiative to improve agriculture and food security across the continent. It includes contributions from Equatorial Guinea ($30 million), Angola ($10 million) and a symbolic contribution by civil society organizations in the Republic of the Congo.
Since its inception, the Fund has already provided financing for projects in six countries – Mali, the Niger, Central African Republic, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Malawi– including building resilience for conflict affected rural communities, reducing rural poverty through youth employment opportunities and building best practices to increase crop and livestock production.
Next allocation planned will cover a continental intervention to support African rural youth future through the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) and a facility for South-South Cooperation from Africa to Africa, to allow a better sharing of knowledge and development solutions within the continent.
Administered by FAO in partnership with key collaborators, the fund aims to pool resources from Africa’s strongest economies and use them across the continent to implement initiatives in the framework of the African Union's Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) to boost agricultural productivity and food security in the region.
It is governed by a steering committee currently consisting of Equatorial Guinea, Angola, the Chair of the Africa Group, the Chair of the FAO Regional Conference for Africa, the African Union and the FAO secretariat.