African development conference concludes with food action plan

May 30th, 2008 - 11:36 am ICT by admin  

Yokohama (Japan), May 30 (DPA) Threatened by soaring global food prices, African leaders and their development partners Friday agreed to address hunger as well as increase food supplies over the long term at the conclusion of a the three-day conference here. The attendees of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) agreed for the continent to aim to double rice production in a decade and to expand irrigated land by 20 percent in five years with assistance from Japan.

In the Yokohama Declaration, adopted at the closing of the conference, TICAD participants said Africa continues to face serious challenges and urged the Group of Eight nations to honour their commitments to African development.

Achieving an eight-point set of UN Millennium Development Goals by 2015 will be a ”difficult task” for the continent as it continues to struggle with changes in the climate and and inadequate health care and education.

In the concluding “action plan” the 51 participating African countries as well as donors and international organisations agreed to transform Africa into a ”continent of hope and opportunity”.

Among key measures listed in the action plan were boosting economic growth by promoting trade and foreign investment, strengthening health systems through training health workers and enhancing Africa’s food production capacity.

As part of its assistance, Japan was to provide agricultural assistance to African nations with an aim of doubling rice production in the region from the current 1.4 million tonnes in the next 10 years.

Japan also decided to offer a $92.1 million programme for climate change adaptation in cooperation with UN Development Programme.

Japan is seeking to maintain its influence in Africa in the face of rapidly expanding aid and investment in the region from emerging donors, particularly China and India.

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