Africa must cut reliance on food imports, says Nigerian billionaire Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
A Nigerian businessman, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, poses at her office in Lagos, NigeriaReuters
By AYAKO OKE, AFP
Sat, Jan 15, 2017
Nigerian billionaire businesswoman Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has called on the government in Africa’s most populous nation to tackle food insecurity by cutting dependence on food imports from their neighbouring economies.
In an interview with “60 Minutes”, Okonjo-Iweala – the founder of African-based commodity trading company, Agip, and a recipient of the 2015 Goldman Sachs Global Women of the Year Award – said she was looking at ways to reduce dependence on food imports from Egypt and the United Republic of Tanzania during her visit to Africa.
“We see a lot of food insecurity around the world. We are in the middle of the worst drought that the world has faced for decades,” Okonjo-Iweala said in the interview.
“I’m talking about the people who are being left hungry, the people who are being left without food, who are left to survive on what they grow, the people who are hungry, the children who are starving. I want to ask what are we doing about that?”
Her comments come as the continent grapples with a worsening crisis in hunger-related deaths with over 400,000 people dying from hunger in 2015 across the world – a figure, which according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), is expected to go up by about 18 percent in 2016.
The FAO report said that hunger, which is exacerbated by a shortage in food and other essential commodities, was a serious problem in Africa.
“The food situation is dire in many countries (of the continent) – especially those in sub-Saharan Africa,” the report said.
The food basket, based on food availability across regions, should be increased to provide a better diet for