The Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, has called for increased investments in agriculture and its value chain by African states to help make the continent’s food sufficient and lift millions out of hunger.
The minister also emphasized how important it is for the continent to work together to combat the “unfair and ‘perceived’ riskiness of investment possibilities on the continent compared to those in the West.”
He claimed that in order to support attempts to boost investment inflows into the continent, a united front against the erroneous perception of risk was required.
Speaking to the 22nd Annual General Meeting of the ATI in Accra today, Mr Ofori-Atta said African governments must take advantage of the resources of regional organizations like the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and the Africa Trade Insurance (ATI) to boost food production, decrease their reliance on imports, and dispel the purposeful doubts that have been cast on investments in the continent.
Finance Ministers, representatives from the 20 member countries, investors, members of the board of directors and staff, and other important figures from the continent’s insurance industry were present at the AGM that was being opened by the minister, who also serves as the board chairman of the continent’s trade insurer.
He claimed that the fight for food security in Africa was especially important to prevent the continent’s hunger levels from impending rising as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
According to investment bankers and economists, more than 46 million people in Africa are going hungry as a result of the two global crises.
According to him, everyone must make the development of sustainable food and agricultural sector in Africa their top priority.
Mr Ofori-Atta claimed that the ATI could be used to address the food difficulties facing the world given its depth of experience and resources, including more than US$580 million in assets under management, a balance sheet of US$767.4 million, and profits in excess of US$34.8 million as of 2021 the continent.
As he pointed out, the company had experienced in the agricultural industry. “Of course, with inflation at record highs, fertilizer prices more than doubling, and the number of people experiencing hunger estimated to have increased by 46 million in Africa, prioritizing the attainment of a sustainable food and agriculture sector in Africa must also be a primary concern for all of us,” he said.
“Let me give you an example of how ATI has helped to improve food security in Africa.”
“ATI backed an Agribusiness and Food Company in East Africa at the start of the epidemic with a facility that allowed the company to supply wheat to seven African countries at competitive prices,” the report reads.
“This transaction was insured against the risk of non-payment and valued at US$11 million.”
With the operationalization of the AfCFTA, which establishes a single market for products and services, he stated, “Such support for reinforcing food supply chains must continue to be a highlight of ATI’s work.”
He said that given the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, Africa could not afford to take a relaxed approach to foster food security and economic expansion.
It was also obvious, he added, that development finance organizations and politicians alike had a shared obligation to uphold and improve the continent’s economic recovery.
The Finance Minister also praised ATI for its efforts in Ghana and expressed his encouragement at the strides the organization had made.
The institution has played a significant role in improving the capacity and quality of our health sector since beginning its “Ghanaian activities” in February 2020. In addition, ATI has provided focused assistance for resolving balance of payments issues and strengthening our local currency.
In terms of the government, Mr Ofori-Atta stated, “We aim to continue our conversations with ATI on future transactions that assist the fulfilment of goals under Ghana’s Agenda 2030.”