African countries to highlight urgent need for agrifood systems transformation

Opening of the 33rd Session of the FAO Regional Conference for Africa (ARC33) Senior Officers Meeting

26 March 2024, Rabat – Solutions for swift agrifood systems transformation are at the centre of discussions at the Senior Officers Meeting of the 33rd Session of the FAO Regional Conference for Africa (ARC33) that opened today. The conference is one of the major regional platforms focused on agriculture, food security and rural development in Africa and is convened by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Regional Office for Africa, with this session being hosted by the Kingdom of Morocco.

The assembly of Ministers of Agriculture and other related portfolios, technical specialists and development partners will assess the current food security context in Africa and agree the path forward towards agrifood systems transformation. Shaping the conversation is the FAO Strategic Framework 2022-31 which supports the 2030 Agenda through the transformation to more efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable agrifood systems for better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life – known as the Four Betters, leaving no one behind.

More than 200 delegates joined the opening session on Zoom, and more are expected to join Zoom or watch the live webcast over the next three days.

“This conference provides an opportunity for our country to reaffirm its commitment to the agricultural and rural development of the African continent and acknowledges the significant contribution of FAO in this development,” said H.E. Mohammed Sadiki, Minister of Agriculture, Maritime Fisheries, Rural Development, and Water and Forests of the Kingdom of Morocco.

FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa Abebe Haile-Gabriel emphasized in his opening remarks the urgency and opportunity for transforming Africa’s agrifood systems amid significant challenges.

“Let us seize the moment to drive change and transformation, ensuring our deliberations lead to actionable recommendations that have a tangible impact on the lives and livelihoods of the people we serve,” he said.

The Senior Officers Meeting runs until 28 March. It serves as a precursor to the ARC33 Ministerial Meeting, scheduled for April 18-20, 2024, in Rabat, Morocco.

Advancing sustainable agrifood solutions in Africa

The Regional Conference is FAO’s highest governing body in Africa. The conference represents a pivotal moment to address the pressing challenges and opportunities in the region’s food and agriculture landscape.

The agenda for the opening day of the Senior Officers Meeting covers a presentation on the regional food security outlook in Africa that underscores the importance of technological advancements, trade policies, and regional collaborations in fostering a resilient food future for Africa; the status and way forward for the FAO country offices network with a view to strengthening capacity to deliver better; enhancing agrifood systems’ resilience amid climatic and economic uncertainties; and financing and investments to end hunger.

The following days will look at FAO’s achievements in the region, the revival of indigenous African foods, and opportunities to mitigate food loss and waste, with discussions focusing on leveraging science, innovation, digital tools, and strategic partnerships.

The Senior Officers Meeting aims to pave the way for impactful decisions and collaborative actions to be endorsed by African governments during the Ministerial Meeting, reinforcing political will towards agrifood systems transformation for better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life in Africa, leaving no one behind.

More than 50 government ministers from African Member Nations will take part in person in the ministerial segment in Morocco, as well as representatives from observer countries, the African Union, donor organizations, civil society and the private sector.

Highlights of the Ministerial Meeting include opening remarks by the FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu and high-level representatives of the government of the Kingdom of Morocco.


Resources for media

Media accreditation

National and foreign journalists can seek accreditation to cover the 33rd Session of the Regional Conference for Africa in Rabat 18-20 April. Please send requests to and, kindly noting that sponsorship of journalists’ travel is not available.

Follow the conference live at FAO’s webcast portal

Visit the ARC33 website

Access the ARC33 List of Documents including the agenda and timetable

Follow us on Twitter: @FAOAfrica Join the conversation: #ARC33


Zoie Jones
FAO Regional Office for Africa – Communications
Twitter: @FAOAfrica

Lina Touri
FAO Morocco – Communications
Twitter: @FAOMaroc

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