African Development Bank "pledges a billion to boost farm output"
Against the backdrop of rising global food prices, the African Development Bank has committed 1 billion dollars towards revamping the continent's agricultural sector, Donald Kaberuka, the bank's president, was quoted as saying Tuesday, dpa reported.
"We have committed US 1 billion dollars to new agricultural projects in Africa," Kaberuka told the South African Press Association in an interview in Mozambique's capital Maputo.
"This is new money raised through our restructuring portfolio and it will be disbursed to pay inputs and fertilizers."
The bank had also secure 15 million dollars towards the African fertilizer mechanism, a continental initiative aimed at combatting rising fertilizer prices, he said.
Kaberuka said the recent riots in Africa over rising food prices had highlighted the plight of Africa's swelling urban poor.
While the majority of Africans living in absolute poverty were still mainly rural dwellers, recent food riots in Egypt, Cameroon and other places had demonstrated the despair of the urban poor.
"Gone were the days when the internal migration was a temporary, seasonal, process. This time the urban poor are here to stay, and their numbers will increase, not decrease," he said.
Around 360 million Africans or 40 per cent of the continent's population live in urban areas. Most live off the informal economy in informal settlements (squatter camps) that are not recognized by the authorities and are denied services.