The African Union hosted a meeting of ministers in agriculture, trade and finance calling for greater efforts to build economic resilience across the continent.
According to the Minister Ebrahim Patel Africa had to confront uncomfortable facts about the continent’s position in the global economy.
“African countries are learning the hard lesson that we cannot simply remain exporters of raw materials and importers of medical supplies and food products” he said.
Minister Patel said that the continent imported an estimated $66 billion of agricultural products and running an agricultural trade deficit with the rest of the world of some $22 billion.
In April, the World Bank had noted the threat of covid-19 pandemic increasing had major impact on food insecurity as currencies were weakening and prices of staples were rising.
“There is a need for more focussed interventions to support smallholder production and protect food security and food supply-chains on the continent. Greater attention must be given to building up Africa’s production in agriculture – both in basic staple food as well as higher value added agro-processed food” Minister Patel said.
The meeting concluded with promises of the ministers looking to build resilient food systems through agricultural trade and investments in order to achieve food and nutrition security in Africa.
“Trade policy must support the efforts at building local and continental capacities, building regional markets in energy, digital and financial inclusion, and enable the start of trading under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)” said Minister Patel.
All the ministers also agreed to introduce initiatives for Made in Africa as a vehicle for efforts in economic reconstruction.