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Sudan’s Bashir arrives in Addis Ababa for meeting on hunger in Africa

June 30, 2013 (ADDIS ABABA) - Sudan’s president Omer Al-Bashir arrived in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on Sunday to take part at a high level meeting of African and international leaders on ending hunger in Africa.

African heads of states and ministers will consult on Monday on renewed partnership for a unified approach to end hunger in Africa.

Following his arrival to Addis Ababa, Bashir met with the Ethiopian prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn to discuss bilateral relations but also the ongoing tension with South Sudan after his recent decision to stop the follow of the South Sudanese oil to the international markets through his country over accusation of support to rebel groups.

At the meeting on hunger, African leaders are expected to endorse a number of principles, policies, and strategies proposed during Saturday’s African multi-stakeholder dialogue and Sunday’s agriculture ministers meeting.

The high-level meeting, jointly convened by the Africa Union, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), in collaboration with the Lula Institute - named after Brazil’s former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva - to end hunger and malnutrition on the African continent by 2025.

Opening the multi-stakeholders session, FAO’s Brazilian director-general, Jose Graziano Da Silva - who served in as extraordinary minister for food security in Lula’s cabinet between 2003 and 2004 - urged African leaders to increase political commitment to alleviate hunger in Africa.

Da Silva noted a need to transform political will into coordinated action if the goal of hunger eradication is to be realised.

“We are not here to reinvent the wheel. We are here to find the best ways to scale up what is already working in region and to renew our political will to end hunger in Africa” said Da Silva.

“We need to join forces against hunger. The decision to end hunger needs to be taken by society as whole including governments, the UN system and other regional and international organisations”.

Abebe Haile Gabriel, the AU’s director for rural economy and agriculture, stressed a need to build partnerships between the public and private sector, civil society, farmers’ organisations, and academia.

The director noted that the goal of eradicating hunger in Africa by 2025 is attainable as long as African leaders have the determination to change words into action.

It was disclosed at the meeting that 240 million Africans - one in four - are undernourished, 40% of which are children aged five and below.

Haile Gabriel said that Africa is the only continent where the number of hungry people has increased in recent years, despite the unprecedented economic growth registered during same period.

(ST)