Addis Ababa March 1/2023/ENA/ The fact that the Ethiopian government is annually allocating 85 million USD out of its domestic budget to the national school feeding program is exemplary, World Food Program (WFP) School Feeding Program Director, Carmen Barbon said.
The 8th Africa Day of School Feeding celebrated at the AU Headquarters today.
During the occasion, African Union Education, Science, Technology, and Innovation Commissioner, Mohamed BELHOCINE said the home-grown school feeding program has strategic relevance to the continental education strategy and agriculture program.
According to him, the school feeding program also helps stabilize and promote markets and its value chain brings economic returns and facilitates sustainable development.
“The home grown school feeding program has not only strategic relevance in contributing to the implementation of the CESA from 2016-2025 which is our continental education strategy for Africa and the comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program.”
In addition to promoting markets and the economies, the commissioner noted that, the home grown school feeding value chains brings economic returns for long term sustainable development.
“But it also helps a lot to stabilize and promote markets, especially local economies. Home grown school feeding value chains can bring economic returns for long term sustainable development reflecting on agriculture, human capital, and nutrition, education and community resilience.”
The program will foster the aim of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which boosts trade in Africa.
“This will have a significant implication in fostering the objective of AFCFTA to boost intra-African trade particularly trade in value added products across Africa,” he added.
World Food Program (WFP) School Feeding Director, Carmen Barbon on her part said the fact that low income countries have increased their domestic financing by 15 percent over the last year and half is admirable.
“Low income countries have increased their domestic financing by 15 percent over the last year and half.”
In this regard Ethiopia is carrying out exemplary activities, she said pointing out that Ethiopian government is annually allocating 85 million USD out of its domestic budget to the national school feeding program.
“We learned that the Ethiopian government is allocating 85 million USD of the domestic budget to the national program.”
She indicated that WFP leadership has visited one of the programs in the capital city, Addis Ababa, on Tuesday.
“Here in Ethiopia, we had the pleasure of visiting one of the programs here in Addis Ababa yesterday under the leadership of the mayor.”
She stated that the fact that the Ethiopian government is annually allocating 85 million USD out of its domestic budget to the national school feeding program is exemplary in Africa.
The director further stated that the school feeding program is benefiting 66 million children in Africa.
It was learned that the project in Ethiopia is providing food to about 700,000 students in all elementary schools in Addis Ababa alone and created jobs for 16,000 women.
The program is implemented nationally and has been hailed for significantly increased enrollments, reducing absentees and dropouts of students in the country.
The 8th Africa Day of School Feeding celebrated at the AU Headquarters under the theme: “Boosting Local Food Procurement Systems and Regional Value Chains: The role of AfCFTA for Sustained Home-grown School Feeding Programs and Improved Learning”.
Ethiopian Education Minister Birhanu Nega, Addis Ababa City Mayor Adanech Abebie, other Ethiopian government officials, and representatives of partner organizations attended the 8th Africa Day of School Feeding Day.