Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – May 2, 2019 – Today, a group of policy makers, implementation partners and donor partners met to launch the 2019 Global Food Policy Report (GFPR) and to discuss its various implications for the SDGs, international development cooperation, as well as in the specific context of Ethiopia.  Among the key speakers were Mr. Lamin M. Manneh, the Director of UNDP Regional Service Centre for Africa, Mr. Shenggen Fan, the Director-General of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the State Minister in the Ministry of Finance and the African Union Special Advisor to the Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture and other prominent individuals from the World Bank, World Vision, NGOs, academicians and the Government of Ethiopia.

The event also saw interactive sessions with a global panel on Rural Revitalization that included two senior advisors from UNDP Regional Service Centre for Africa, Alessandra Casazza and Odette Kabaya.

In his remarks, Mr. Manneh stated that with only 12 years left to the Agenda 2030 end date for achieving the SDGs, rural revitalization must be stepped up now, and for Africa the focus will need to be on agricultural and rural development as well as promotion of job-rich non-farm activities.

The year 2018 was considered a somber year, especially in terms of the overall international development context. In retrospect, the year saw a deepening of the hunger and malnutrition in addressing economic stagnation and increased environmental degradation. As a result, the 2019 Global Food Policy Report focuses on promoting rural revitalization as a promising approach to achieving the SDGs, especially as a revision of the significant policy developments of 2018.  

In a chapter co-authored by UNDP’s Administrator, Achim Steiner and IFPRI’s Director General Shenggen Fan, an emphasis was placed on tapping into the rural-urban links to spur growth and diversification-called rurbanomics, as well as using this approach in the revitalization of the rural economy.

The report calls for an action agenda that promotes investments in five transformational areas: i) the strengthening rural-urban linkages; ii) the transformation of agri-food systems; iii) the scaling up of non-farm opportunities for creating jobs, particularly for the poor; iv) improving the wellbeing of rural communities; and v) empowering local governments.

Ethiopia and Rwanda are amongst other countries in the continent that are leading the way and setting notable examples of how the principles of Rurbanomics can be realized.

Though it was found that while Ethiopia’s economy (as with many developing economies) still faces persistent inequality. The rural economy continues to present low living standards, and as a result, low consumption- significantly below the urban ones.

The conference aimed to promote further discussion on these issues by sharing experiences and lessons learnt on rural revitalization and transformation, and further discuss on how to make these processes more inclusive.

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About the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

A research centre of the CGIAR engaged in agricultural research for development, the IFPRI aims to contribute to the reduction of poverty and to end hunger and malnutrition in developing countries by providing research-based policy solutions.

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