Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat said that Africa is the most affected by the crises facing the world, especially climate changes, as 60% of the countries of the continent are affected by these changes even though the continent only contributes 4% of global emissions.
She also pointed out that the continent of Africa is a net food importer with an annual cost of $43bn, which is expected to increase to about $110bn annually by 2025.
The minister’s remarks came during her participation in a discussion session on ‘Strengthening Food Security in Times of Crisis’ during the activities of the Middle East and North Africa Forum that was organised by the Middle East Institute and Think Research and Advisory during the meetings of the 77th session of the General Assembly of the UN in New York.
Al-Mashat said that achieving the second goal of the UN’s sustainable development goals (SDGs) related to achieving food security and eliminating hunger by 2030 is facing unprecedented challenges at the present time as a result of the recent global circumstances.
She also referred to international statistics and reports that indicate that 828 million people suffer from food insecurity every day as a result of these challenges, and that the proportion of spending on food out of total incomes is about 15% in developed countries, in comparison to 50% in poor countries, which shows the scale of the crisis faced by a large segment of the world’s population in terms of food security.
Furthermore, Al-Mashat explained that in order to achieve food security and confront the current crises, it is important to make joint and coordinated efforts to stimulate sustainable agriculture, foster joint action in the international community to meet humanitarian needs, and increase investments in mitigation and adaptation projects to climate change in a way that enhances the ability of countries to be resilient and to face challenges that prevent development.
Additionally, she identified four main axes that the international community — along with African governments — must work on to overcome these challenges, namely investing in food security, enhancing market access, reducing food price volatility, and increasing investments in climate change adaptation projects.
With regard to the situation at the national level, the Minister of International Cooperation stressed that the Egypt 2030 Vision for Sustainable Development places food security among the main axes and basic goals that must be achieved through a transition to a sustainable agriculture, expansion of agricultural areas, investment in water security projects, and increasing adaptation projects.
With the climate changing, many projects in the field of water resources and sustainable agriculture are being implemented in cooperation between the national authorities and development partners, including the US Agency for International Development, Italy, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and Germany with development funds amounting to $1.2bn.