Africa must end dependence on food and medical imports – AfDB
African Development Bank (AfDB) President Akinwumi Adesina has urged African leaders to end reliance on imported food and medicine.
Adesina said this in an interview with Reuters on the sidelines of the 2022 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Kigali, Rwanda.
His statement comes as many countries are experiencing rising inflation and food shortages worsened by war in Ukraine.
Africa currently imports 80-90% of all its medicines for a population of 1.3 billion people.
“Africa should not allow itself to be vulnerable by over-reliance on others, whether for vaccines or whether for food,” the AfDB president said, as quoted by Reuters.
“The thing is, when you’re dependent on others, you’re also very vulnerable to any shock of any kind.”
Last month, the AfDB approved a $1.5 billion financing facility for emergency food production, with the aim of averting a looming food crisis.
The bank said the funds were intended to help 20 million farmers produce 38 million tonnes of food.
Adesina said the bank has already received requests from countries to tap into the fund.
“Once these things come to our board, they are quickly reviewed and approved, and the money comes out,” he said.
Meanwhile, the AfDB board approved the establishment of a new African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation during the week, Adeshina said.
According to him, the foundation would enable Africa to leverage intellectual property rights, proprietary technologies and innovations to develop the pharmaceutical and vaccine manufacturing sectors in Africa.
We cannot and should not outsource Africa’s health security to the benevolence of others,” he said.