Ending hunger is well within our reach – Kofi Annan

For the first time in human history, the end of hunger is well within our reach. While courageous and passionate individuals have been working to end this scourge for decades, a recent confluence of political will, public-private partnerships and funding has made this ambition possible.

We have, of course, a long way to go. Almost eight hundred million men, women and children will not have enough food to eat today. But the achievement of halving the proportion of malnourished people since 1990 has shown us just what can be achieved.  

Look, for example, at Africa. Already 12 years ago, when I was UN Secretary-General, I called for a “uniquely African Green Revolution” to transform agriculture and the life chances of hundreds of millions of people on the continent. Progress has been remarkable.

For over a decade, African countries have put a much greater emphasis on investment in agriculture and supporting the continent’s farmers. The Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP), launched by African leaders in 2003 and reiterated in the Malabo Declaration of June 2014, provides a clear framework to accelerate investment and coordinate countries’ efforts.

International donors have thrown their weight behind these national efforts. From a surge in donor investment stemming from the 2009 G-8 Summit in L’Aquila, Italy, to the agreement by the global community to prioritise hunger and malnutrition in last year’s Sustainable Development Goals, the tide is turning.

READ: From weddings to the Olympics, the race to end food waste quickens

With the help of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Rockefeller Foundation, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) was created in 2006. In just a short period of time, it has become a preeminent leader in transforming Africa’s agriculture and food systems.  Thanks to the partnerships it has formed, the research and development it has supported and the initiatives on the ground it has launched, smallholder farmers have obtained access to better seeds, sustainable agricultural techniques and financing, while thousands of agri-businesses have been created and expanded.

Video: Curbing food wastage and spoilage in Africa – CNBC Africa

The last few weeks have given more reason to celebrate. In a rare show of bipartisan cooperation, the United States Congress in July passed the Global Food Security Act. This significant legislation reaffirms the United States’ commitment to ending global hunger, poverty and child malnutrition through President Obama’s Feed the Future Initiative by supporting developing countries to improve their agriculture and broader food systems. It is hoped that the passing of the Act encourages other traditional donor countries to take similar actions.

This latest good news comes as African heads of state, international donors and hunger fighters from around the world gather in Nairobi, Kenya, for the African Green Revolution Forum. It is an opportunity not only to celebrate collective progress but also to commit ourselves to step up the battle against hunger and malnutrition.

We must seize on this critical moment and build on the incredible progress that’s been made in recent years. We all gain if we get this right.  Increasing food security not only lifts the shadow of hunger from hundreds of millions of our fellow human beings. It also builds up economies and trade and minimises the risk of political instability. 

I believe there are four main keys to tipping the scales and sentencing global hunger to history.  The first is the continued political will to place and keep this issue high on domestic and international agendas, for no country can be strong when its people are weakened by hunger. The role of civil society in constantly encouraging governments to make agriculture a priority is vital here as well. 

Second is partnerships, for no one individual, group or government can take on this monumental challenge alone. We have seen over the last few years just how quick and significant progress can be when we have the vision to work together.

Thirdly, we must retain and strengthen country ownership. Developing countries – who suffer disproportionately from food insecurity – must take the lead in defining their own path to prosperity.

Finally is the recognition of the critical importance of financing. The impressive progress so far will not be sustained and accelerated without new investment from both the private sector and developing countries themselves, in addition to traditional donors.

Developing country leaders, private sector companies, donors, NGOs and others now have the chance to achieve something incredible within our lifetimes. This week and into the future, I challenge my colleagues working in global development, especially heads of state and private sector leaders, to prioritise this issue. Working together – across sectors and disciplines – we can make hunger history.

*Kofi Annan is the Chair of the Kofi Annan Foundation

 

Related Content

Subscribe to our newsletter

Sign up for free newsletters and get more CNBC AFRICA delivered to your inbox

More from CNBC Africa

African born Billionaire Elon Musk’s net worth zooms past Warren Buffett’s

The blistering rally also puts Musk in reach of a payday potentially worth $1.8 billion, his second jackpot from the electric car maker in about two months.

U.S. sets record for new COVID cases third day in a row at over 69,000

“If we don’t adopt this best practice it could lead to a shutdown of business,” the Republican governor told local KLBK-TV in Lubbock, adding it was the last thing he wanted.

South Africa set to make SAA funding commitment, official says

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - The South African government is “on course” to provide a funding commitment for the restructuring of loss-making South African...

Akinwumi Adesina pays tribute to Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly

A humble man. A selfless man. A faithful man. A shining light. We met and spoke together on several forums around the world: on the plane, at airports, in high level forums and summits. My impression of him was the same: calm; wise; insightful. A man of few words, whose every word was always well honed for impact. He spoke always from his heart. An he had a heart of gold.

Partner Content

Maktech’s Godwin Makyao: Now Is A Time of Entrepreneurial Opportunity in East Africa

As an executive decision-maker in both the telecommunications and tourism industries, Godwin Makyao could not have experienced a more diverse set of...

Sanlam launches urgent job-preservation initiative in response to COVID-19

Sanlam Investments is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic through large-scale support of the recovery of South African companies, from small enterprises to...

Trending Now

Congo justice minister resigns after judicial reform dispute

KINSHASA (Reuters) - The Democratic Republic of Congo’s Justice Minister Celestin Tunda tendered his resignation on Saturday in the wake of a...

Veteran Zimbabwe farmer pours cold water on $58 million mission from Belarus with love.

“Belarus tractors have never been known for their quality or power. They were never bought by Zimbabwe farmers in the past. Training up 1000 Zimbabwe farmers isn’t the answer.

Congo central bank keeps 2020 economic growth forecast at -2.4%

(Reuters) - The Democratic Republic of Congo’s central bank kept its 2020 economic growth forecast unchanged at -2.4% because of the uncertainty...

South Africa’s rand recovers but caution remains, stocks slip

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa’s rand recovered in afternoon trade on Friday, after sliding earlier due to concerns about rising COVID-19 cases...
- Advertisement -