June 12, 2019

African national and non-national donors on Tuesday pledged $17 million to top-up African Development Bank’s Africa Solidarity Trust Fund to help eliminate poverty and ensure food security for people living in rural areas on the African continent.

Donors made the commitments during a sideline meeting convened by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation and Equatorial Guinea President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo at this year’s AfDB’s annual meetings in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.

The event was attended by Presidents of Mauritania, Guinea Bissau, the Prime minister of Eswatini and several other high-ranking diplomats, ministers and development and banking institutions.

President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, whose country contributed $30 million to the ASTF’s initial start-up fund said the Fund illustrated “a turning point in the fight against food insecurity.” The current pledges is $10 million from Angola, $2.6 million, from China, Euros 2 million from France, $2 million from Equatorial Guinea and $100,000 from Zimbabwe-raising a total of $17 million.

The Fund was established by the FAO as an initiative to provide innovative solutions that will help address food insecurity and poverty in rural areas on the continent and has led to the successful implantation of 18 projects that have benefitted 41 countries and hundreds and thousands of beneficiaries, including 160 vulnerable households in Niger who saw transformation and grants which enabled a rapid response to populations affected in the Ebola outbreak in west Africa in 2014.

Maria Helena Semedo, Deputy Director-General of FAO said the success of the ASTF is exemplified by the excellent results it has delivered over the last five years by providing innovative solutions for African agriculture and food systems, adding that “the generosity of the donors was unique evidence of strong solidarity between African countries.”

AfDB‘s Vice President of Agriculture, Human and Social Development, Jennifer Blanke said “it’s so important that ASTF is showing that African countries are contributing to Africa..that links very closely to what we are doing,” adding that AfDB’s remains committed to providing  farmers with technologies to help improve their yields.