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28 March 2014, Tunis - The FAO Regional Conference for Africa, held in Tunis, Tunisia, from 24 to 28 March 2014, concluded its 28th Session, reaffirming its commitment to food security and sustainable development.
"We have given our full support to the 2025 Zero Hunger target for Africa," declared FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva, in his closing address. He was flanked by Tunisian PrimeMinister Mehdi Jomaa, whose government will chair the 28th Regional Conference for Africa for the next two years, succeeding Congo.
A final report adopted by the Conference recognized the importance of enhancing the business opportunities that agriculture offers to African youth as a pathway to social inclusion, food security and sustainable development.
The African ministers of agriculture recommended member countries allocate dedicated financial resources for youth employment within agricultural and rural development programmes, particularly investments in the technical and entrepreneurial capacity of the region's youth, as well as their access to key productive resources, notably land and finance.
A ministerial roundtable following up on the High Level Meeting of African and International Leaders on the theme, "Toward African Renaissance: Renewed Partnership for Unified Approach to End Hunger in Africa by 2025 within the CAADP Framework," provided an opportunity to share knowledge on the action taken to end hunger in Africa. Particular guidance was solicited on how to strengthen the mobilization of additional resources in mutual support.
The Regional Conference considered the report on priorities for FAO activities in Africa, covering achievements in 2012-13 and proposals for 2014-15 and beyond.
The Regional Conference focused on the three key priority areas of actions needed to accelerate agricultural transformation and eradicate hunger in Africa:Enhance the enabling environment for investment by the domestic private sector, including smallholder farmers;Invest in the enhancement of agricultural productivity and constructive engagement of youth, smallholder farmers and family farming; Determine how CAADP can more effectively contribute to building systemic capacity for monitoring and evaluation, and results-oriented action.
Graziano expressed gratitude to the FAO member countries in Africa: "You have expressed your support for the new FAO that we have today and to how we are transforming our Program of Work into concrete results for the region.""You have confirmed the regional priorities which you would like FAO to focus on, which are coherent with our global revised strategic framework," he emphasized.
Cote d'Ivoire will host the next Regional Conference for Africa, in 2016.