29 January 2021, Rome – The Food and Agriculture Organization’s Director-General QU Dongyu today welcomed Her Excellency Jackline Lumumba Yonga, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Republic of Kenya, as the new chairperson of the Africa Regional Group in Rome, taking over from His Excellency Hisham Mohamed Badr, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Arab Republic of Egypt.
“I welcome Ambassador Jackline Lumumba Yonga as the new chairperson for the Africa Regional Group. I know she will do an excellent job,” Qu said at the virtual handover ceremony. “I want to thank Ambassador Hisham Badr for all his commitment and support. It has been a pleasure to work with you, my brother.”
The Director-General highlighted the important contributions of the African Ambassadors in Rome towards FAO’s work, and the members echoed their support.
“We have a lot of work to do together this year and I appreciate all your support and your cooperation with the FAO agenda,” Qu said.
Africa at the heart of FAO’s agenda
The Director-General set out FAO’s priorities for 2021, underlining the accelerating momentum towards transforming agri-food systems in Africa to reduce poverty, increase access to healthy and diverse diets, develop new digital-led jobs and build sustainable and resilient livelihoods.
He noted the importance of youth in building a modernized Africa and explained how FAO’s Four Betters – better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life – are applicable to all countries.
Qu also highlighted the need to leverage innovation and digital technologies to drive progress and underlined the importance of FAO’s Green Cities Initiative which will include African cities in its first phase.
He said FAO will continue to work closely with the African Union on a comprehensive and holistic COVID-19 response and recovery effort, and in support of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.
Qu also noted that FAO’s Hand-in-Hand Initiative is progressing well in Africa, with four countries expected to join the initiative in February 2021, bringing the total number of African countries to 20, accounting for half of the global total.
During the ceremony, the Democratic Republic of Congo was endorsed as Vice Chair, taking over the role from South Sudan.
The Africa Regional Group is made up of 37 African countries that have official representatives in Rome and is divided into geographical sub-regions: Central Africa (Burundi, Cameroon, Congo, Congo D.R., Equatorial Guinea, Gabon), Eastern Africa (Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania United Rep., Uganda), Northern Africa (Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia), Southern Africa (Angola, Lesotho, Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe) and Western Africa (Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal).
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