Global food shortages: West Africa needs to urgently develop its agric sectors - Int'l Trade Centre

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Fri, 23 Sep 2022 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Chief, Office for Africa at International Trade Centre, Ruben Poolchund, has said it is about time West Africa focuses more on its agricultural sector to avert any food shortage(s) in future.

He stated that there should be a value addition to some products such as mango and cassava to make them more attractive for exports.

Ruben Poolchund added that the International Trade Centre was committed to the promotion of trade by strengthening Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

Speaking at the West Africa Connect programme on September 20, 2022, the Chief, Office for Africa at International Trade Centre said, "We all know that the mango and cassava are very important Agri sectors for the West Africa region. In the wake of global food shortages and supply, there is an urgent need to develop these sectors, given the great potential for value addition and export."

He added that, "Across all three priority sectors, ITC has conducted a number of studies and initiatives in West Africa and beyond, supporting the promotion of these agrisectors through exports, as well as enabling the creation of a number of tech hubs for ICT SMEs and agritech start-ups, in support of the immense potential in the region."

"The overall aim and objective of our interventions in the region, which is to ensure that ITC is contributing its quota to the development of priority value chains in the region and the strengthening of SME competitiveness for greater export. ITC remains committed to playing its role in the promotion of trade through the strengthening of SME competitiveness," he added.

Mr Poolchund entreated SMEs present at the West Africa Connect programme to build commercial linkages and establish business connections.

This, he said, will help in the creation of jobs, especially for the youth and women in the ECOWAS sub-region.

His comment comes on the back of the negative impact of the Russia-Ukraine war on African economies and global economies at large.

Many economists have predicted global food shortages due to the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine.

About Russia-Ukraine war

Russian President, Vladimir Putin, on February 24, 2022, ordered a military operation in Ukraine after it emerged that the country was seeking entry into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization - which Russia sees as against its security interests.

Russian forces have been in Ukraine trying to take control of the capital and second largest city - Kiev and Kharkiv respectively.

The resulting chaos has led to people fleeing their homes into neighbouring countries. A major issue that has come up is the racist mistreatment of Africans seeking to escape - it has been condemned by African countries and the AU.

Most African countries have started evacuating their nationals - mostly students - by having them cross land borders into neighbouring countries where they are given consular assistance.

Initial talks between the two warring parties took place on February 28, with a second-round taking place on March 3.


Source: www.ghanaweb.com
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