Austrian Chancellor: Africa must embrace digital innovation to address food insecurity
THE Federal Chancellor of Austria, Karl Nehammer, has challenged African countries to embrace digital innovation to help in addressing challenges associated with food insecurity.
He said whereas not all current challenges could be solved exclusively at the governmental level, digital innovative ideas would be urgently needed to find solutions that would aid growth and ensure food sustainability.
Announcing the second edition of the Kofi Annan Award for Innovation in Africa during a visit to the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) in Accra last Wednesday, Mr Nehammer said food security was key to social stability and resilience.
“Unfortunately, for some years now, the number of people who are hungry, malnourished or undernourished are on the increase despite efforts at all levels to reduce hunger,” the Chancellor pointed out.
The Chancellor also reiterated the Austria government’s commitment to renew its cooperation partnership with the KAIPTC, which expires in December 2023, for another five years.
The Kofi Annan Awards for Innovation 2024, intended to contribute to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs) on Good Health and Wellbeing, provides support for promising African social entrepreneurs with a sustainable business model to develop digital solutions to honour Kofi Annan’s legacy and commitment to a more fair, just and equitable world.
It is organised by the Federal Chancery of Austria, together with its partners, the World Food Programme Innovation Accelerator, the Austrian Development Agency and the Kofi Annan Foundation.
Invasion of Ukraine
Mr Nehammer said Russia’s attack on Ukraine had caused severe disruption to food security, leaving about 140 million Africans at risk of hunger.
“It is, therefore, crucial to promote innovative entrepreneurs whose solutions can potentially counteract the negative impact on food security as a result of the Russian attacks,” he stressed.
Austria, he said, would support any endeavour by Ghana and its partners to enhance food sustainability, and that “I will like to encourage young entrepreneurs with digital solutions that will aid in addressing food insecurity while raising awareness of entrepreneurial opportunities for young people”.
The Commandant of the KAIPTC, Major General Richard Addo Gyane, giving an overview of the centre’s operations, told the Chancellor that the KAIPTC had over the years trained military, police and civilian personnel for multidimensional peacekeeping and peace support operations, providing them with the requisite skills and competencies to respond to complex peace and security challenges in West Africa and on the African continent.
“The work we do in strengthening the African Peace and Security Architecture and other regional structures and mechanisms of the AU in peace and security could not have been possible without the support of our committed development partners,” Major General Gyane said.
He welcomed the announcement by the Chancellor on the extension of the Memorandum of Understanding, saying it was timely as it coincided with a new strategic phase for the centre.
“It is imperative to note that the support provided by the Austrian government within the context of our current strategy has enabled the KAIPTC to enhance the capacities of ECOWAS and the African Union, with the introduction of the Humanitarian Assistance in West Africa (HAWA) Core Course and the Political Advisors Course,” General Gyane said.
The centre, he also highlighted, intended to strengthen the operations of the Women Peace and Security Institute by upgrading it into a department and adding another key agenda by focusing on young people.