Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office

01/24/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 01/24/2023 03:11

Minister pledges UK support at Africa summit to fight food insecurity

Press release

Minister pledges UK support at Africa summit to fight food insecurity

The Minister for Development and Africa emphasises the importance of the UK working with African countries on a two-day visit to Senegal.

  • Minister for Development and Africa will hold discussions with African leaders this week on rising food insecurity.
  • Andrew Mitchell will explore opportunities to expand British Investment into African countries to tackle this challenge.
  • He will meet Senegalese President and current African Union Chair Macky Sall during his visit, which will celebrate the UK's growing partnership with a fast-growing, democratic, and stable regional power.

The UK Minister for Development and Africa will emphasise the importance of the UK working with African countries to grow economies and boost food security - on a two-day visit to Senegal, starting today (Tuesday 24 January).

Arriving in Dakar, Andrew Mitchell will hail the important relationship between the UK and Senegal, a country, with huge economic potential.

He will meet key Senegalese government figures on his visit, including current African Union Chair and Senegal President Macky Sall. He will also set out the UK's vision of a stronger partnership between the UK and Senegal that delivers mutual prosperity and security, and tackles global issues such as health and climate change. He will sign the first ever Memorandum of Understanding between the UK and Senegal, a symbol of our growing partnership.

Mr Mitchell will see first-hand the impact of British investment in Senegal, including how UK-funded projects are supporting women and girls, and helping to build Senegal's vaccine production facilities to tackle the next pandemic.

Representing the UK at the Dakar 2 Feed Africa Summit, an African-led initiative, the Minister will listen to African leaders talk about the causes of rising food insecurity and hear their vision for accelerating agricultural transformation, with the aim of maximising the UK's impact in alleviating food shortages across the continent. The UK is working with regional organisations like AGRA, Regional Economic Communities and the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to help strengthen food trade in Africa.

Minister for Africa, Andrew Mitchell, said:

Many Brits know Senegal for its world-class football team. They may not know that our partnership with Senegal reaps benefits for people in both our countries, delivering economic growth and tackling common security and health threats. We hope to deepen this partnership over the long-term.

As a leading supporter of the African Development Bank I am delighted to participate in the Dakar 2: Feed Africa Summit on an issue that we all need to work together on.

With Russia's war in Ukraine exacerbating the already drastic impacts of regional conflict in Africa and climate change on food security, I also want to hear directly from Macky Sall and other African leaders about the issues the continent is facing and understand how the UK can further support African countries as we face those challenges, together.

Senegal is a leading stable and democratic country in the region, growing in significance and influence, and the UK hopes to build a closer partnership and greater trade and investment ties over the long-term.

Economic development is crucial to tackling challenges like food insecurity and climate change and on his visit Mr Mitchell will explore opportunities to expand UK investment into the country to make a real and lasting positive impact. The UK-Africa Investment Summit in 2020 announced 27 deals worth over £6.5bn from across Africa. It also announced £9bn worth of investment decisions.

During his visit, he will see the impact of such investment to date, including a $1.7bn partnership between British International Investment and DP World which features a new container port at Ndayane, Senegal's largest onshore investment. The port will enable the creation of over 20,000 new jobs and help unblock barriers to greater economic growth.

He will see the British Council's landmark English Connects programme and visit the Women's Integrated Sexual Health Programme (WISH) clinic where our delivery partner Marie Stopes International is increasing access to voluntary family planning, reaching those most in need.

Andrew Mitchell will also visit Institut Pasteur de Dakar to hear about their plans to develop vaccines for Covid and other deadly diseases.

Notes to Editors

  • Over 130 million people across Africa are in crisis levels of food insecurity, with many under category IPC3+.
  • Immediate concerns are the prospect of widespread famine in the Horn of Africa, as well as areas experiencing conflict such as the Sahel and countries exposed to the impact of climate shocks such as Madagascar.
  • If farmers are not able to access or afford fertiliser, there is a risk that the food access crisis of 2022 will deepen and continue this year and beyond. The African Development Bank estimate that Africa could lose 20% of food production over the next two harvesting seasons.
  • The UK has supported $30bn of financing from the World Bank and $1.5bn from African Development Bank set up to address the increased food security risks across the continent.
  • The UK will also provide £200m for the Africa Development Bank's Climate Action Window and was the first non-African member to sign an MoU with the Africa Continental Free Trade Area, both of which will help to strengthen the resilience of Africa's food systems.

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Published 24 January 2023

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