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The African Development Bank’s (AfDB) High 5 priority areas are set to support the continent's achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with a major focus on 'Feed Africa' and 'Light up Africa,' as without electricity, agriculture can not effectively meet the growing challenge of Africa's food security

48143578622 c998a9b771 oSince 2016, AfDB has mobilised US$12bn for its “Light Up Africa” strategic priority and accessed 13.4mn people with electricity. (Image Source: Rod Waddington/ Flickr)

Atta Abdul, Fatima-Zahra, Shuaibu, and Daniel are the faces of a continent that is being transformed. By betting on Africa’s youth, the Bank is banking on the future to make the continent a land of progress, prosperity and hope.

The AfDB made investment in energy a priority for food security. Since 2016, it has mobilised US$12bn for its “Light Up Africa” strategic priority and accessed 13.4mn people with electricity. 

Morocco has made significant progress in widening access to electricity. In past 20 years, the electricity system has expanded to cover almost the entire country. The national rural electrification programme, supported by the Bank with US$173.62mn, has connected nearly 12.8mn Moroccans to the national power grid.

In Dar El Aïn, a village 20 km from Marrakesh, the arrival of electricity has opened new doors for the women of the “Al Amal” cooperative. They use electricity to process their wheat into couscous or create other barley or wheat-based products. “The cooperative processes local crops into added-value products. Now, with electricity, the women are much more efficient, and their products are of better quality. It creates hope,” says Fatima-Zahra, a 30-old member.

 Under Feed Africa, 74mn Africans have benefited from improved agricultural technologies through the Bank’s efforts to support increased food security on the continent since 2015. 

In western Mauritania, the Brakna-Ouest irrigation infrastructure improvement project, supported by the Bank with US$12mn, enabled 1500 farming and livestock-producing families to return to cultivating their fields.

Shuaibu Yusuf, a farmer living near Port Harcourt, has experienced the impact of this project in his daily life. “My harvest increased by more than 40 per cent. I can feed myself, pay for my children’s education, and even their medical expenses,” he said.

As part of the Bank’s “Industrialise Africa” priority, nine million people have gained access to private financing. For instance, in Nigeria where more than 70 per cent of the population depends on agriculture, fluctuating harvests have significant repercussions on yields, income and food security. 

Locally produced fertiliser is one solution. The Bank provided US$100mn to support the construction of a modern fertiliser plant in Port Harcourt.

To derive more benefit from industrialisation, Africa must become better integrated in terms of trade and markets. By this, African countries can gain access to larger markets and thereby increase incomes for millions of residents through new opportunities.

An important part of improving living conditions is providing better access to essential services such as health, water and sanitation. AfDB-supported projects have given 43mn people access to water and sanitation since 2015.