ROME, ITALY — A coalition of multilateral development banks and development partners including the Africa Development Bank and the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) have pledged more than $17 billion to fight rising hunger and improve food security in Africa.

The announcement was made April 30 during “Feeding Africa: leadership to scale up successful innovations,” a high-level forum hosted by the Africa Development Bank and IFAD in partnership with the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) and the CGIAR System Organization.

The coalition’s pledge includes a commitment to boost agricultural production by doubling current productivity levels through the scaling up of agro-technologies, investing in access to markets, and promoting agricultural research and development.

The African Development Bank has agreed to pledge more than $10 billion, including $1.57 billion that will be used for scaling up 10 selected priority commodities over the next five years in the hopes of helping countries in Africa achieve self-sufficiency. The remaining $8.83 billion will go toward building strong value chains for these commodities over the next five years and will include programs designed to create opportunities for young people — particularly women.

“Let us now create today, a stronger partnership: a partnership for greater scale; a partnership to take technologies and innovations to hundreds of millions of farmers,” said Akinwumi A. Adesina, president of Africa Development Bank.

IFAD, meanwhile, has pledged $1.5 billion to Africa to support national efforts to transform food and agricultural systems over the next three years. In addition, the organization plans to invest in creating the pre-conditions for increased agricultural productivity.

“We praise the African leaders’ commitment to increase agricultural productivity and improve food security for millions of Africans,” said Gilbert F. Houngbo, president of IFAD. “By modernizing African agriculture, small-scale farmers will be in a better position to bring more affordable food to consumers and create decent livelihoods for millions of young Africans involved in the processing, storage and marketing of food.”

The Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) committed up to $1.5 billion over the period 2020-24 in agriculture. The Islamic Development Bank Group said it would pledge $3.5 billion in developing the agriculture sector in Africa in the next three years. It said these investments will develop commodity value chains for both staple food and cash crops.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, joining a coalition of development partners, said it will invest $652 million in the next three years to support agriculture research and development initiatives in Africa. This funding is expected to empower 300 million farmers with a host of new innovations.

President Macky Sall of Senegal summed up interventions by African heads of state with the following seven-point action list:

  • Accelerate agricultural production by taking technologies to scale.
  • Increase investment in research and development.
  • Optimize technology.
  • Improve business language in agriculture to open up to the world.
  • Support access to markets and the installation of basic infrastructure and equipment.
  • Invest in new businesses to transform agricultural produce to support small producers.
  • Create a facility for agricultural transformation.