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The aim is to discuss the importance of international agricultural trade and an integrated trade system for global food security in order to archive major relevance in the light of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of the United Nations, in particular SDG 2 – end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture – and SDG 12 – ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.. The focus of this panel will be on agri-food trade with African countries, the importance trade has for agricultural development and the role of food security within African countries.
Agri-food trade is increasing for most African countries, driven by population growth, changing consumption pattern and limited growth in national and regional production. In most Sub-Saharan countries, because of insufficient infrastructure it is often cheaper to import from global markets than to import from the remote hinterland or from neighbouring countries. Still 31 African countries continued to need external food aid (FAO 2019). Most forecasts now estimate that crop yields will decline in much Africa and the developing world as a result of the effects of climate change. The hardest hit areas coincide with the regions that are also expected to produce the highest population growth rates in the coming decades. In this context, it is particularly important to explore the future sustainability and resilience of agri-food production in Africa.
The food trade balance has worsened in most African Countries over the last decades (FAO) and in particular basic food commodities such as cereals, dairy products, edible oils and fats as well as meat products are increasingly imported. With the African Union Malabo Declaration from June 2014, African countries committed to triple intra African trade by 2015. The African Free Trade Area is an ambitious project of the African Union. If achieved, this may help to improve food security and contribute to the achievement of SDG 2 in Africa. Panel discussions points are: