IITA participates in special session of AUC on achieving zero hunger in Africa
On 27 January, the African Union Commission (AUC) organized a high-level dialogue session titled “Achieving Zero Hunger in Africa by 2025” at the AU headquarters, Addis Ababa. The main objective of the meeting was to take stock of progress and lessons in the light of the sustainable development goals from the perspective of different stakeholders.
Representing IITA, Kwesi Atta-Krah, Director, Country Alignment and Systems Integration, gave an address where he highlighted the role of agriculture in driving economic development. “Whatever we are doing in agriculture, it should be done in such a way that it contributes to the role of agriculture as an engine for economic development, and research has a role in that,” he stated.
Atta-Krah emphasized the need to mobilize more resources to the national agricultural research systems as many national research institutes barely have funds to carry out research. He recognized the role international center systems had played in transforming agriculture: “CGIAR has played a significant role in helping to drive the research agenda and in the continent,” he said.
According to Atta-Krah, IITA, in pursuit of improving livelihoods, has identified three key areas to focus on: The need for better integration among research players in the various research domains; The need for a better alignment of our research to the strategic goals of the countries where we breed; and The need to take a country-focus approach to help the countries achieve targets to improve livelihoods in the community and help in economic development.
Committing to the task of eradicating poverty and hunger in Africa, the Director reaffirmed IITA’s willingness and readiness by saying, “For research, coordination, integration, and alignment towards national goals and within international research systems, we believe these are the areas that we will put a lot of emphasis on, working with the African Union, and other regional organizations, and with the national research institutes.”
The meeting was attended by dignitaries such as Nigeria’s former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, ex-President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. in Brazil, Secretary General of the UN, AUC Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Economy, IFAD President and former president, FAO Secretary-General, and representatives from several countries and institutions.