ROME, Italy: Egypt has been among 60 developing countries worldwide that have already met a hunger-reduction target outlined by the Millennium Development Goals, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) announced.
Goal number one of the Millennium Development Goals is to halve the proportion of chronically hungry people between 1990 and 2015, which 60 developing countries had succeeded to do, FAO said in a press release Thursday.
In Africa, the countries also include: Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Ghana, Djibouti, Libya, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Sao Tome and Principe, South Africa, Togo and Tunisia, it said.
Getting more African youth involved in agriculture and boosting support for the region’s vulnerable family farmers will be pivotal to improving food security and economic well-being in the years to come, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva told participants at the Organization’s Regional Conference for Africa in Tunisia.
He also named water scarcity, low investment and conflict as being among the challenges to food security in the region, but said he was confident that Africa could “reach peace, stability and food security” in the future.
“The region’s economic growth rate is above the global average and most of the world’s fastest-growing economies are in Africa,” Graziano da Silva told ministers of agriculture and funding partners at the 24-28 March event. “The challenge is to translate this growth into social inclusion. Agriculture, rural development and youth can make this happen.”
The links between youth, agribusiness and rural development are high on the agenda at the conference. Africa is the world’s youngest region, with more than half of the population being under 25 years of age.
“Every year, 11 million people enter (Africa’s) labor market. But salaries are low in the rural sector, informality is high, agriculture is not considered as attractive by many of the region’s youth, and social protection is not always available for rural families in critical situations.”
A paper prepared for the conference points out that impressive growth in some African countries over the past decade has not translated into widespread employment or income for young people.
FAO is calling for greater public and private investment in agribusiness, agro-industry and market-related services to attract and keep young workers, fuel job creation, and spur new development in the agricultural sector.