Innovative Initiative to Transform African Agriculture Mooted

By IFAD and Abdi Ali
Published September 15, 2022

African Agricultural Transformation Initiative (AATI) is expected to have a pronounced impact on improving food security, reducing rural poverty and helping small-scale farmers adapt to climate change.As the current crises and disruption in food networks lay bare most African countries’ dependence on food imports, it has become critically urgent to transform the agriculture sector in order to lift vulnerable people out of poverty and hunger.

The programme that is known as African Agricultural Transformation Initiative (AATI) is expected to have a pronounced impact on improving food security, reducing poverty and helping small-scale farmers adapt to climate change.

RELATED: Bloc to make Africa One of the Largest Economies in the World

Endowed with a budget of US$19.6 million until 2025, AATI is currently launching its first wave covering four countries (Ghana, Kenya, Malawi and Senegal) to accelerate effective and sustainable changes in their food systems, based on their needs, priorities and existing infrastructure.

The initiative will extend support to other African countries as well as to collaborate with additional partners, making the most of the knowledge generated from key stakeholders.

AATI builds on the experience of several African countries in recent years, including national agricultural transformation agencies, bringing together governments, private sector and civil society to overcome key challenges and help replicate successful delivery mechanisms for agricultural transformations.

RELATED: Online African Music Store Opens for Business

“Given the scale of the rural economy in Sub-Saharan Africa and its enormous potential, we believe that inclusive agricultural transformation is the most effective way to drive sustainable development,” says Safia Boly, Executive Director of AATI. “AATI will provide support through tailored strategies that will ultimately allow them to realize their full agricultural potential.”

This new initiative comes as worrying downward spiral trends of poverty and hunger erase years of steady progress. Africa remains the world region with the highest prevalence of hunger (20%), with a total of 278 million affected by hunger in 2021, according to the latest UN report of The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World.

The ripple effects of the conflict in Ukraine are compounding the crisis that many African countries are facing due to shocks delivered by the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change-induced weather events and conflict.

This storm is leaving many African countries with little fiscal space to increase their development expenditures, which is heavily affecting the agriculture sector. Poor rural people are the most affected because they are not able to cope with price hikes, as they already spend up to 70% of their income to buy food.

RELATED: What Africa Must Do to Benefit from Aviation

“Cooperation among stakeholders is essential to transform their agriculture sector. They can share experiences and learn from each other to overcome similar challenges. Partnering is a key element of this initiative,” says Boly “Indeed, AATI looks forward to engaging with countries and partners interested in agricultural transformation.”

This initiative is born as a result of the close collaboration among Alliance for A Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm providing pro bono support. AATI’s central office will be hosted by IFAD.

BMGF is providing US$10 million, and IFAD is contributing US$2 million. The funding gap will be closed by other donors.

RELATED: Youth Technology Innovators in Africa’s Agriculture and Food Sectors Win Cash Prizes

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *