TCD Celebrates Africa Day with Conference on Food Security
Posted on: 31 May 2010
As part of the Africa Day celebrations a conference titled, ‘Food for Thought: Revitalising African agriculture for food security and poverty alleviation’ took place last week which featured speakers: Dr Steven Were Omamo, Deputy Director, Policy Planning and Strategy Division, UN World Food Programme, Dr Ousmane Badiane, Director for Africa, International Food Policy Research Institute and Justin Kilcullen, Director of Trócaire. The conference was opened by the Ethiopian Ambassador, His Excellency, Zerihum Retta on behalf of the Group of African Ambassadors in Ireland (South Africa, Lesotho, Kenya, Ghana, Egypt, Ethiopia, Morocco and Nigeria).
The second annual celebration of Africa Day at TCD, was organised by the Institute for International Integration Studies (IIIS) and the Trinity International Development Initiative, with the support of Irish Aid as part of the Africa Day celebrations nationwide. The event was chaired by Professor Alan Matthews, Director of the IIIS and Professor of Agricultural Policy, Department of Economics, Trinity College.
The theme of food security is particularly relevant at the present time as the eradication of hunger has recently become a key focus of the Irish Aid programme following the recommendations of the Irish Government’s Hunger Task Force. The event highlighted the importance of food security for poverty alleviation and sustainable development and drew on both Irish and African expertise to showcase positive examples of agricultural development linked to food security and poverty alleviation.
L-R: Dr Ousmane Badiane, Director for Africa, International Food Policy Research Institute; Sarah Glavey, TIDI Coordinator; Dr Martina Hennessy, School of Medicine; TCD Nigerian Ambassador, Her Excellency Kemafo Nonyerem Chikwe Kenyan Ambassador; Her Excellency, Catherine Muigai Mwangi; Prof Alan Matthews, Director, IIIS; Lesothoan Ambassador, Her Excellency, Mrs. Mannette Ramail; Dr Steven Were Omamo, Deputy Director, Policy, Planning and Strategy Division, UN World Food Programme; Ethiopian Ambassador, His Excellency Mr Zerihun Retta; Dr Edward Lahiff, Doctoral Programme Officer, TIDI.
The speakers tackled various dimensions of this issue:
Dr Ousmane Badiane is the Africa Director for the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), based in Washington DC. In this role, he coordinates IFPRI’s work programme in the areas of food policy research, capacity strengthening, and policy communications in Africa. He is also in charge of IFPRI’s partnerships with African institutions dealing with the above areas. Dr Badiane discussed IFPRI’s work on sustaining and accelerating Africa’s agricultural growth recovery and the impact and implications of the global food and financial crises on this recovery.
Dr Steven Were Omamo is Deputy Director of Policy, Planning and Strategy at the World Food Programme. He previously served as Chief of WFP’s Social Protection and Livelihood Service, which has lead responsibility for issues related to food security, safety nets, cash/food responses, development policy, disaster mitigation, and Poverty Reduction Strategies. Dr Omamo discussed the progress Africa has made in addressing issues of hunger and malnutrition as well as the challenges that remain.
Justin Kilcullen is Director of Trócaire, the official overseas development agency of the Catholic Church in Ireland. Mr Kilcullen provided a perspective on Ireland’s role in tackling global hunger drawing on examples from Trócaire’s work and his experience working as a member of the Hunger Task Force.
By providing a range of complementary perspectives on the importance of small-scale agriculture in achieving food security and alleviating poverty, the event aimed to increase knowledge and understanding of this central issue in African development.
“The IIIS and TIDI were delighted to host distinguished speakers Dr Badiane and Dr Omamo for TCD’s second annual celebration of Africa Day. Food security is of crucial importance to poverty alleviation and sustainable development. The conference provided a forum where both African and Irish experiences on this issue were shared, ” commented Professor Alan Matthews, Director of the IIIS and Professor of Agricultural Policy, Department of Economics, Trinity College.
Irish Aid, Ireland’s official aid programme to developing countries, is delighted to support events marking Africa Day. The focus of Ireland’s aid programme is the fight against poverty and exclusion in some of the world’s least developed countries, particularly in Africa.