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FG must turn attention to investing in agriculture–Emefiele

CBN, Oyo

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), says harsh effect of coronavirus is gradually taking a toll on the economy especially the declining global oil.

Emefiele

He, therefore, called for urgent investment in agriculture to boost the agricultural sector.

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The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele stated this at the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC) Senior Policy Seminar XXII in partnership with CBN in Abuja on Monday.

The seminar is tagged, “Agriculture and Food Policies for Better Nutrition Outcomes in Africa’’.

Represented by Isaac Okorafor, the Director, Corporate Communications Department, Emefiele said the outbreak of the coronavirus had dampened consumer confidence resulting to a decline in private consumption and global demand slowdown.

He said the sad development had posed a great threat to the economic gains achieved across Africa in the recent past.

According to Emefiele said the seminar came timely especially when global economies are facing huge impact on global activity owing to COVID-19.

“Very much like we have seen in the past, food is often one of the immediate causalities of any catastrophe on the African continent. The reason is not far-fetched; a sizeable proportion of the population is food poor.

“Africa is not winning the war against acute hunger and malnutrition. Food insecurity and malnutrition plague the lives of millions across the continent.’’ He said.

According to the 2019 Global Report on Food Crises, Africa remains dis-proportionally affected by food insecurity with more than a half of the global 113 million, 58 per cent to be precise acutely food-insecure people living in 33 countries in Africa.

“Here is the irony, Africa holds 65 per cent of the world uncultivated arable land, particularly its vast 400 million-hectare savannas which are the world’s largest agriculture frontier.

“The continent of Africa should have no business with food insecurity. Regrettably, its agriculture continues to be vulnerable to climate-related shocks, disease, weak input supply chains, conflicts and economic shocks.

“Disturbingly, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has predicted that Africa could add an additional 38 million hungry people to the world’s number of hungry people by 2050 due to climate change,” he lamented.

In his remarks, the Executive Director of AERC, Prof. Njuguna Ndung’u expressed confidence that the conference being held for the first time in Nigeria, will come up with huge recommendations to will aid global economies.

Ndung’u urged participants to always adhere to full implementation of the resolution of this kind of policy seminar.

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Ihesiulo Grace

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