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The private sector is aware of the role it must play for Africa’s food security, says Chakib Alj

The private sector is “perfectly aware of the major role” it must play to ensure food security in Africa, said Friday in Diamniadio, 30 km from Dakar, the president of the General Confederation of Moroccan Enterprises (CGEM ), Chakib Alj.

“As a private sector, we are well aware of the major role we play in ensuring food security in Africa, through processing and the creation of added value,” said Mr. Chakib Alj, who spoke during a High Level Round Table focusing on “African Agriculture Transformation Policies”, organized on the last day of the Dakar 2 Summit on Food Sovereignty, held from January 25 to 27 under the theme “Feeding Africa : food sovereignty and resilience”.

In this context, he underlined the importance of “improving our agricultural yields, in particular through aggregation, promoting farmers, promoting innovation in agriculture, training, etc.”.

During this round table, the speakers, including the Senegalese Minister of Livestock and Animal Production, Aly Saleh Diop, and the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security of Sierra Leone, Abu Babak Karim, were invited to answer the following questions: How can policymakers best support African agriculture in the face of climate change?, How to make policy and institutional environments more conducive to attract potential partnerships in agriculture?, and what is the role of government in formalizing jobs and land reform to make the sector more inclusive?.

The president of the CGEM thus noted that “governments can provide a favorable environment for business by facilitating access to the market, financing, land, energy, training and access to innovation, but also by improving the doing business (digitalization, tax framework, etc.).

Mr. Alj underlined, on the other hand, that the impact of climate change on agriculture is “today a reality.

According to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), a warming of around 2°C would lead to a 10% reduction in total agricultural output in sub-Saharan Africa by 2050, he said, estimating that if “the warming exceeded 3°C, all the regions currently producing maize, millet and sorghum, for example, would become unsuitable for this type of crop”.

“These figures challenge us all the more since 240 million Africans already suffer from malnutrition, while Africa has enormous potential in terms of agriculture, in particular with 65% of arable land”, observed the President of the CGEM.

Asked about the actions launched by Morocco in this area, Mr. Alj mentioned three actions “which have made a difference”, namely firstly the implementation of rational water management projects, noting that “Thanks to the Royal Vision, the Kingdom currently has 149 dams that allow it to rationally manage its water resources, especially in times of drought like those we have experienced in recent years”.

Efficient Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) have also been set up for water desalination and wastewater treatment projects, focusing on innovation and new technologies, Mr. Alj further noted to the panelists.

The speaker also cited the Green Morocco Plan which was launched in 2008 with the aim of making the agricultural sector a real lever for socio-economic development in Morocco. After 10 years of implementation of this Green Morocco Plan, the agricultural sector has been able to attract an investment of 104 billion DHS, including 40% public investment and 60% private investment, he explained to the assistance, adding that exports of agricultural products also increased by 117% from 15 billion DHS to 33 billion DHS.

On the social level, the Green Morocco Plan has enabled the creation of 342,000 additional jobs, and agricultural GDP has increased by 7 to 12 billion dirhams, regardless of rainfall, underlined Mr. Alj, who is part of members of the Moroccan delegation which took part in this three-day Summit opened on Wednesday by the Senegalese Head of State, Macky Sall.

The Moroccan delegation, led by the Head of Government, Aziz Akhannouch, also included the Minister of Agriculture, Maritime Fisheries, Rural Development and Water and Forests, Mohamed Sadiki, the Minister of Equipment and Eau, Nizar Baraka, the Chairman and CEO of the OCP Group, Mustapha Terrab, the Managing Director of the “Ithmar Capital” Fund, Obaid Amrane and the Ambassador of HM the King to Senegal, Hassan Naciri.

The work of the Dakar 2 Summit ended on Friday with the adoption of the “Dakar Declaration”.

The “Dakar 2” Declaration read at the closing of the forum by the Senegalese Minister of Agriculture, Rural Equipment and Food Sovereignty, suggested setting up Presidential Councils to oversee the implementation of national pacts for food and agriculture, in order to ensure the follow-up of the decisions of the forum.

The stakeholders of the Declaration also decided to ”request the African Union Commission and the African Development Bank to follow up with the various development partners in order to finalize the support”.

They suggested that the Dakar2 Summit Declaration be submitted to the African Union Summit scheduled for February 2023 for consideration.

The African Development Bank ADB, organizer of this Summit in partnership with the Government of Senegal, announced for its part a financing of 30 billion dollars for the implementation “as quickly as possible” of the national strategies of food sovereignty and of resilience with the promise “to seek additional financial support from other partners and report on overall funding from development partners.

This Summit brought together Heads of State, Governments, the private sector, multilateral organizations, NGOs and scientists to address the growing challenge of food security in Africa. This Summit discussed the development of financing mechanisms for the implementation of pacts for food and agriculture, in collaboration with the ministers responsible for agriculture, private sector actors, banks commercial and financial institutions.



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