Title : Opportunities for partnering with African food industries
The presentation builds on the premise that Africa will not be able to realize the policy decision to rely more on its own locally produced nutrient rich food resources in the fight against poverty and food insecurity, without an active contribution of the food processing industry. The latter is regarded as instrumental in making it possible for the modern consumer to access local foods and traditional food products in a form that is adapted to the mobility, lifestyle, and preferences of the 20th century consumer. In this context, food industry support is actively sought at a time when the food industry in western countries is responding favorably to initiatives for benchmarking progress made towards healthy and sustainable diets. The presentation reviews the status of the African situation as reflected in the recent UNFSS National and Regional Dialogues, identifying the gaps, weaknesses, and opportunities for the food industry to strengthen African food systems, food value chains, and urban food supply systems. Benefiting from the wealth of recent studies and scientific evidence produced by national and international academia, specialized entities and organizations, the food industry will be able to enjoy the clearly defined supportive policy and strategy framework for food and nutrition security set by the African Union. Furthermore, the African free trade agreement (AfCFTA) and the “Made-in-Africa” initiative (work in progress), as well as the serious mobilization of the Codex CCAFRICA and the ARSO (African Regional Standards Organization) for completing the standards and specification for African food products and for ensuring compliance with international standards, are all efforts that aim to ensure safety and facilitate trade in African commodities and food products. The food industry is called upon to partner with Africa and help advance its food industry; reduce dependence on imported foods and integrate locally produced foods into food value chains and urban food supply systems; and more importantly, strengthen the capacity of the African food industry to join in the continent-wide mobilization for providing innovative solutions to manage the social and economic impact of the Covid 19 pandemic, that is being compounded by the fallout from the Ukraine war.