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African leadership

Olive Towey is blogging from the Fighting Hunger Conference. This is her second post.

Mary Robinson’s chairing this session now. It’s about African leadership in Fighting Hunger.

After Jeff Sach’s depressing wake up call earlier about the failure by the international community to take seriously the problem of world hunger, it’s such a relief to hear some good news. 

Major strides

The Rwandan Minister for Agriculture talks about the major strides that her country has made in agriculture and food production. It’s even more refreshing that the session talks about leadership being taken in Africa, by Africans. It’s also in itself s a demonstration of leadership being shown by African women (the panel is three amazing women). 

The third speaker, Bibi Giyose, is Senior Advisor on Food and Nutrition Security with AU/NEPAD. She talks about more good things happening, supporting African initiatives and the importance of pulling together and working together.

Why is all of this important? 

If countries can make strides in the production of agricultural goods, that will have a direct impact on hunger. If the international community takes this hunger crisis as seriously as it’s taking the financial crisis at the moment, we wouldn’t have the problem of hunger in the first place. But in the meantime, if they only met their aid promises and worked in partnership, that would have a direct impact on hunger.

The fact that 80% of African farmers are women should be taken seriously. If those women farmers are respected and actively involved in shaping solutions to the problem of hunger, that will have a direct impact on hunger. That’s a lot of “ifs” but each one of them is an opportunity to improve on where we are right now.