Akinwumi Adesina, president for African Development Bank Group, delivered a keynote address Wednesday as the Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD7) kicked off with its emphasis on climate change and hunger.
“In spite of all the gains made in agriculture, we are not winning the global war against hunger,” Adesina said. “We must all arise collectively and end global hunger. To do that, we must end hunger in Africa. Hunger diminishes our humanity.”
Adesina noted that Africa accounts for nearly a third of the planet’s 821 million people who experience hunger, and that the continent is disproportionately affected by climate change.
“But, it should not be short changed by climate finance,” Adesina said. “Let’s be better asset managers for nature. For while we must eat today, so must future generations coming after us. It is our collective responsibility to ensure that we do not leave empty plates on the table for generations to come.”
The TICAD7 event saw Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announce a commitment to help Africa double its rice production by 2030, and vow that Japanese technology can play a key role in innovation as the key to agricultural productivity. The talks also welcomed key Japanese business leaders and delegates.
They included Yohei Sasakawa, chairman of the sponsoring Nippon foundation. “We’ve always believed in the agriculture potential of Africa,” said Sasakawa. “We are paying more attention to income-generating activities. We want to help shift the mindset of small-holder farmers from producing-to-eat to producing-to-sell. We are hopeful that Africa’s youth can take agriculture to a new era, and that they can see a career path in agriculture.”