OREANDA-NEWS. On Friday, October 16, the African Development Bank (AfDB) will join UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and President of the Italian Republic Sergio Mattarella at Expo Milano 2015 for the official ceremonies of the World Food Day organized by FAO. This year's theme is “Social Protection and Agriculture: breaking the cycle of rural poverty.”

“In a world of plenty, no one should go hungry” – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Africa has 65% of all the arable left in the world to meet the food needs of 9 billion people on the planet by 2050. Yet, Africa imports $35 billion worth of food annually. Africa’s food needs are set to double by 2050. How can Africa feed itself and the world? Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest prevalence of undernourishment in the world. One in every four people in Sub-Saharan Africa is undernourished. 39% of children are malnourished. Malnourished children cannot learn, and grow up to become unproductive adults. “Child undernutrition costs Swaziland around US $92 million per year in lost worker productivity. Uganda spends around US $254 million per year treating cases of diarrhea, anemia and respiratory infections linked to malnutrition”, concluded the first report of the Cost of Hunger in Africa (COHA) Study that unveils the crushing impact of child undernutrition on the economies of four African countries (Egypt, Swaziland, Ethiopia, and Uganda).

Aly Abou-Sabaa, AfDB Vice-President, Agriculture, Water, Human Development and Governance, is participating in other World Food Day events on October 16 namely “Finance for Food: Investing in Agriculture for a Sustainable Future” organized by the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance and IFAD. He will be part of an interactive question and answer session with Luis Alberto Moreno, President of the Inter-American Development Bank; Neven Mimica, European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development; James Mwangi, CEO of Kenya Equity Bank; and Claudio Cosamagna, President of Cassa Depositi e Prestiti.

The panel will discuss ways to mobilize financing for smallholder farmers (women and men) and agri-food SMEs.

To date, the African Development Bank has invested US $12 billion in the agriculture sector. Feeding Africa is one of the new corporate priorities of the African Development Bank. The Bank is hosting a High Level Ministerial Conference to set an action plan for agricultural transformation in Dakar, Senegal from October 21-23, 2015.