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The African Development Bank Annual Meeting in India sets new milestones for Africa-Asia relations

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AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina adressing delegates at the nutrition event while Ambassador Kenneth Quinn, World Food Prize Foundation, listens. Credit: Friday Phiri/IPS

From 22 to 26 May 2017, the African Development Bank (AfDB) held their Annual Meeting in in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India, setting a new milestone for Africa-India-Asia relations. Over 3,500 top government officials, business leaders, representatives of NGOs, civil society, as well as members of the academic community and the media participated in the Annual Meetings. Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi presided over the opening session on Tuesday in the presence of three African Heads of State – Presidents Macky Sall of Senegal and Patrice Talon of Benin, as well as Vice-President Daniel Kablan Duncan of Côte d’Ivoire participated in the ceremony alongside India’s Minister of Finance, Arun Jaitley, and the Chief Minister for Gujarat State, Vijay Rupani.

The 52nd Annual Meetings of the Board of Governors of the AfDB and the 43rd Meetings of the Board of Governors of the African Development Fund (ADF), reviewed and endorsed the Bank’s 2016 Annual Report and its programmes for the coming year. View the Annual Report English | Français

We encourage the Bank to continue to work with other donor agencies to crowd in financial resources, financing modalities and policy tools to unlock the potential of the sector and to fast-track the achievement of Africa’s agricultural transformation,”

The Governors (Ministers of Finance, Economy, Planning and, in certain cases, Central Bank Governors) representing the 80 member countries of Africa’s premier development finance institution said in their final communiqué.

In line with the central theme, “Transforming Agriculture for Wealth Creation in Africa,” many of the high-level meetings explored how India and Africa can work together order to achieve their shared goal of rural and agricultural transformation. This was the fourth AfDB Annual Meeting outside Africa. The first took place in Valencia, Spain in 2001; the second in Shanghai, China in 2007; and the third in 2011 in Lisbon, Portugal. Busan, Korea, will host the 53rd meeting on May 21-25, 2018.

The event concluded with optimism generated by the early successes towards AfDB’s Ten Year Strategy (2013-2022). The twin objectives of the strategy are inclusive growth and the transition to green growth through the AfDB’s High 5 priorities: Light up and Power Africa; Feed Africa; Industrialize Africa; Integrate Africa; and Improve the Quality of Life for the People of Africa. These focus areas are essential in transforming the lives of the African people and are consistent with the United Nations agenda on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Nutrition side event

On 22 May 2017, the event “Developing Africa’s Grey Matter Infrastructure: Addressing Africa’s Nutrition Challenges” was organised to address the problem of malnutrition. Malnutrition is unacceptably high on the continent, with 58 million or 36% of children under the age of five chronically undernourished (suffering from stunting), and 13 million or 8.5% of children acutely undernourished (suffering from wasting).

The event recognised that one of the greatest contributors to economic growth is brainpower, which can be referred to as “grey matter infrastructure” and that a well-nourished brain is key to building it.

Malnutrition is a major global public health concern whether it is from undernutrition, overweight/obesity or micronutrient deficiencies… ensuring good nutrition requires a multi-sector, collaborative approach and that the agriculture sector, among others, has a role to play in influencing nutrition outcomes.”

Jennifer Blanke, AfDB Vice-President, Agriculture, Human and Social Development.

The Bank is developing a Multisectoral Nutrition Action Plan, which will focus on ensuring that a well thought out results-oriented plan that recognizes the cross-cutting nature of nutrition solutions can be instrumental for better nutrition in Africa. As Africa’s premier development Bank, the AfDB plans to leverage leadership of African Heads of States, Ministers of Finance, and other key stakeholders in government and civil society to garner the necessary support to increase investments in nutrition and grey matter infrastructure.

without better nutrition you will not end poverty. Without better nutrition you will not end gender inequality. Without better nutrition you will not improve health, find innovative approaches, or peace and stability. Better nutrition is the core.”

Gerda Verburg, SUN Movement Coordinator, UN Assistant Secretary-General.

The panel concluded that the debate was necessary to ensure that all stakeholders are driven by results to ensure better nutrition aiming at AfDB’s Ten Year Strategy. The discussions focused on the key political and leadership role that can encourage investments in agriculture and nutrition, resource mobilization and the dire situation of some of the African countries that are on the brink of famine.

The meeting concluded that the Bank’s leadership role in promoting Grey Matter Infrastructure Development in Africa is a game-changer, providing a much needed venue to convene key stakeholders to bring an end to malnutrition on the continent.

Learn more: AfDB event site, AfDB’s High 5 priorities, AfDB News, Nutrition Side Event AfDB, Nutrition Side Event Inter Press Service


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