Monday, November 21, 2011

African Union Commission Chairman Urges Nations to Fight Famine

African Union's Ping Urges African Nations To Fight Famine, Cut Food Prices

YAOUNDE, Cameroon (Dow Jones)--On visit to Cameroon, African Union Commission Chairman Jean Ping urged a conference Monday to build African capacity on the continent and fight famine.

"Africa is facing acute challenges today including dealing with high food prices and famine. While drought is a natural phenomenon it does not need to lead to famine. Countries like Ethiopia have shown that you can deal with famine even as you face drought. The role of capacity in dealing with Africa's challenges is important," Ping told experts at the opening of a two-day symposium in Yaounde.

Like in 2008, the International Monetary Fund predicted earlier this year that rising food demand and climatic hazards would likely spark food shortages in Africa and hike food prices. The Fund urged African governments to invest in more food production.

Organized by the African Capacity Building Foundation, or ACBF, the participants from the continent and financial donors from the World Bank, the African Development Bank, the International Monetary Fund including African government representatives are discussing the role of knowledge in addressing Africa's future and current development challenges.

Regional trade in Africa and its effect on boosting economic growth, challenges Africa would face in the near future and strategies to curb the difficulties in agriculture, mining, trade, education, economic empowerment, technological enhancement, public, financial and private sector management were also on the agenda at the Yaounde symposium.

Since its creation in 1991, the ACBF, which operates essentially in sub-Saharan Africa, has benefited over USD 619 million as pledges from 34 African nations and 13 non-African nations for socio-economic development.

"The knowledge networks are key to ACBF as we move towards our new Strategic Medium Term Plan 2012-2016. Their expertise will help ACBF better shape strategies and design innovative capacity development interventions so the Foundation is able to meet its strategic objectives," ACBF Executive Secretary Frannie Leautier told the meeting.

-By Emmanuel Tumanjong, contributing to Dow Jones Newswires; +237-9655-6261;

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