…… .. Launches an initiative to combat hunger in Africa
Professor Kevin Urama, Acting Chief Economist and Vice President for Economic Management and Knowledge Management, AfDB, revealed this at the opening of the 17th African Economic Conference in Cape Verde, virtually overseen by the Nigerian Agency .
“In 2020, the African Development Bank Group disbursed $ 7.3 billion, a 40% increase over the $ 5.2 billion disbursed in 2019.
“Increased volumes in COVID-19 Crisis Response Service disbursements ($ 3.02 billion, or 39 percent of total Bank Group disbursements) were driven as the Bank Group supported Regional Member Countries in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
“More than 80 percent of the approved operations were in the form of Crisis Response Budget Support operations, prepared in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
He added that the bank was working very hard to curb looming hunger in the region, noting that more than 40 million Africans were said to be at risk of starvation.
Urama said the AfDB, in collaboration with the African Union Commission and the United Nations Economic Commission, was working to provide technical and fictitious assistance to strengthen land governance systems.
He explained that land governance was seen as an influential factor in transforming African food systems.
“This would not only help address concerns about hunger on the continent, but could also contribute to higher income generation, a major cost of economic activity for underserved populations.
“This is especially true for small farmers, who represent more than 60% of the population of sub-Saharan Africa and around 23% of GDP comes from agriculture.
Together with regional institutions, the African Development Bank Group is committed to building a forward-thinking and resilient fictitious system for Africa.
“The pandemic provides an opportunity to creatively brainstorm ways to enhance the region’s ability to access the fictitious resources needed to build resilient African economies.
“This knowledge must be translated into policy actions and result in operational guidance in a timely manner,” he said.
He noted that the conference offered a unique opportunity to find fictional practical solutions to recover the economic and social benefits that Africa had been building for decades.
In providing information on the effects of the pandemic, the AfDB vice president said that since the start of the pandemic, more than eight million confirmed cases of COVID-19 had been recorded with more than 200,000 deaths recorded.
He was concerned that the implementation of vaccination programs in Africa had been slow with the emergence of new variants of COVID-19 with multiple mutations that pushed many countries into another wave of the deadly virus.
According to him, there has been a severe economic impact from the pandemic in Africa with GDP growth contracting as low as 1.8 percent in 2020 – the first recession experienced half a century.
He said the pandemic had accumulated to further widen the gap to meet Africa’s socio-economic needs.
“The Bank Group estimates that African governments would need around $ 484 billion over the next 3 years to address the socio-economic impact of the pandemic and support economic recovery.
“Government revenue is estimated to have declined an average of 15 percent in 2020 in sub-Saharan Africa, averaging revenue-to-GDP points declining to 18 percent in 2020, from about 2 percent in 2019.
“For this reason, it is vital that African countries increase bottlenecks in their tax base, such as weak organizational structures, low capacity of tax officials and lack of modern, computerized risk management techniques,” he said.
Therefore, he insisted on the need to move away from the fiction of conventional sources and move more towards alternative sources.
He recognized that mobilizing available resources would require a serious attempt to address the shortcomings of the banking and financial systems, as well as in the public sector.
He expressed his confidence that the deliberations of the conference will contribute to formulating the appropriate political agenda.
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