Organized in partnership with the African Union Commission (AUC), under the theme “Building resilient African food systems after COVID-19,” the three-day (15-17 November) virtual conference featured high-level speakers from the academic and development community, who debated on the findings of the ReSAKSS 2021 Annual Trends and Outlook Report (ATOR).
“The ReSAKSS Conference is a time when we come together to look back, take stock, and look forward with a focus on strong thematic areas of strategic importance to the African Union agenda,” said Dr. Ousmane Badiane, AKADEMIYA2063 Executive Chairperson.
“After a challenging 12 to 18 months amid the COVID-19 pandemic, we decided to take a look at what would happen in the event of a more complex crisis, maybe spanning the entire globe, disrupting livelihoods and economies, based on lessons learned. The 2021 ReSAKSS Annual Trends and Outlook Report looks at the ramifications of the COVID-19 crisis, the variety of responses and commitments made for readiness in addressing future shocks across various sectors. We must use the resources contained in the report to guide our efforts to build back better, enhance our preparedness to confront future crises and accelerate the progress of the last 20 years,” he said.
“The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the fragility of the African and global food systems,” said Commissioner Josefa Sacko, AU Commissioner, Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Development (AUC-DARBE).
“The pandemic clearly demonstrated multisectoral convergence, particularly agriculture, food security, public health, safety, and employment. But it is not all doom and gloom. The pandemic has provided us with an opportunity for self-reflection to rethink our development path. We should recognize this opportunity and build back better, reexamine current partnerships and aspire for genuine global solidarity and support. I congratulate AKADEMIYA2063 for producing this report and commend the choice of elaborating on the impact of COVID-19 on African economies, the response from member states, and proposed measures to rebuild more resilient food systems,” she said.
Day one of the conference focused on an overview of the 2021 ATOR, a keynote presentation on impacts of and responses to COVID-19 in African countries, with presentations and thematic sessions on “Impacts of COVID-19 on African Economies”. The opening plenary was chaired by Ambassador Ertharin Cousin, Founder and CEO of Food Systems for the Future and Vice-Chair of AKADEMIYA2063's Board of Trustees, with opening remarks by Dr. Ousmane Badiane, Executive Chairperson of AKADEMIYA2063, Ms. Maura Barry, Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator at United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and H.E Josefa Sacko, African Union Commissioner, Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Development (AUC-DARBE).
Day 2 featured presentations and panel discussions focused on "Responses of African Countries to COVID-19 and Social Protection" and "Measurement Issues", with Day 3 tackling “Progress toward Achieving the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) Goals”.
The conference attracted over 100 attendees from over 23 organizations, with the participants underscoring to need to strengthen implementation of policies and strategies in order to accelerate recovery from the impacts of COVID-19 and progress toward achieving CAADP goals.