Besides the fatalities, the impact of COVID-19 on Africa's food security has been severe, the head of the African Development Bank (AfDB) said on Thursday.
Akinwumi Adesina was speaking at a two-day virtual dialogue on Feeding Africa where panelists discussed ways to expand activities, financing and partnerships to further leverage technology and innovation for food systems transformation.
“I think it is time for us to set up a financing facility for food security and nutrition in Africa," he said. "COVID-19 has wreaked havoc. Aside from the number of people that have died, the impact on Africa's food security has been severe. Today, 246 million Africans go to bed hungry each day."
Adesina said to fully recover from the coronavirus pandemic, Africa must rapidly upscale efforts to boost its food production. "Without food medicines don't work. Without nutrition vaccines are simply not effective."
Ethiopian President Sahle-Work Zewde said Africa must adopt a coordinated approach to address the food security and hunger challenge "by harnessing new technologies and systems that increase food production at scale to provide healthy and nutritious food."
Ghana's President Nana Akufo-Addo argued that his country is determined to overcome the challenges in the agricultural sector, "which have been exacerbated further by COVID-19, within the shortest possible time."
"In Africa, the establishment of production systems and transformation systems of food must be more resilient. This is no longer an option, but it is mandatory," said Senegalese President Macky Sall.
"Transforming agriculture in Africa is an urgent task," Rwandan President Paul Kagame said, adding that "agribusiness can be a pathway to prosperity for African families."
"We need to improve our research capacity ... we need to strengthen partnerships to tap into successful innovations to produce more food at affordable prices and with less environmental impact," he said.