ABIDJAN, IVORY COAST — In an effort to scale up agriculture and nourish a growing population in Africa, which contains 65% of the world’s uncultivated land, the African Development Bank Group and Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centers (CGIAR) have committed to strengthen their collaboration.

Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank, received Africa-based directors general of CGIAR at the bank headquarters in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, on Jan. 25, to discuss efforts at scaling up food and agricultural productivity on the continent.

CGIAR centers are located across African countries and focus on enhancing food and nutrition security, reducing poverty and improving natural resources and ecosystem services. They are critical to achieving food security on the continent, just as their counterparts in Southeast Asia and Latin America were also key to accelerating agricultural growth and food self-sufficiency.

The meeting was the first coordinated group visit by the four directors-general/regional directors and one deputy director general of CGIAR for Africa. The leaders focused on securing long-term financing for research activities and for CGIAR to enhance its effectiveness across the continent. They also discussed capacity building for country-based national agricultural research services partners, young scientists and extension workers, and private-sector seed growers to produce certified seeds.

“We must unlock Africa’s agricultural potential and deploy technologies to millions of African farmers,” Adesina said. “CGIAR is central to that. I have made agriculture central to the work of this bank and central to the future of our continent.”

The African Development Bank Group is Africa is composed of the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Development Fund (ADF) and the Nigeria Trust Fund (NTF). Located in 41 African countries with an external office in Japan, the bank contributes to the economic development and social progress of its 54 regional member states.

Adesina said the bank, with the approval of its board of directors, could consider including CGIAR in its long-term lending program to countries. The bank is also eager to work with the consortium to expand its work on capacity development for young scientists and farmers.

“CGIAR leaders have local knowledge, experience and networks and are better placed to work with national institutions to combat climate change and increase productivity and food security,” he said.

Leading the delegation, Dr. Simeon Ehui, regional director for continental Africa and director general of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), said: “The African Development Bank has been a long-standing partner of the CGIAR in providing technology. We are confident that the African Development Bank's support will continue and increase.”