AFSA held a major conference on African Food Systems and the SDGs in Saly, Senegal, 3-5 November 2018, The conference was built around five thematic areas:
- Urban food systems
- Food systems, climate change and soil
- Policy change on food systems in Africa
- The future of food systems in an increasingly complex world
- African cultural food systems
The conference brought together 135 delegates from 31 countries representing farmers, fisher folk, pastoralists, consumer associations, research anddevelopment institutions, government representatives, media, and nongovernmental organizations.
To provide guidance, five renowned keynote speakers contributed their huge expertise and shared their latest thinking on the five key themes. Mariama Sonko broke down African Food Systems into their component key elements. Distinguished Professor Heila Lotz-Sisitka looked at climate change through the lens of social change. Pat Mooney set out ways to get to the point where the policies are made for and by the people. Nnimmo Bassey wrote and presented a poem reflecting on the impact of urban food culture. Gertrude Pswarayi-Jabson challenged the audience to take a personal view and accept personal responsibility. A series of 11 ‘Parliaments’ were developed around different topics and constituencies, as a means to create discussion around the most significant and concerning issues. The results yielded much learning, with many calls to action emerging.
The conference was facilitated through art. This was a conscious move away from the typical PowerPoint presentations and panel discussions, in an endeavour to do things differently through creative activities. Alliances were built and strengthened among members and likeminded players. The conference hall rang out with loud and proud collective voices: Africa Unite! People Power! Women fighting for our rights!