The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has launched an African Gastronomy and Culinary Arts Programme under its Creative Africa Nexus Initiative (CANEX).
Launched during the just concluded third Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF2023) in Cairo, the CANEX African Gastronomy and Culinary Arts Programme is the newest vertical within the CANEX programme and featured nine celebrity chefs from Africa and the Caribbean taking part in masterclasses, live cooking demonstrations and conversations with culinary experts.
According to a statement, the inaugural session of the programme, concluded with a live demonstration, dubbed the “Jollof Wars” to highlight the unique flavours and cultural diversity of Jollof rice among Nigeria, Ghana and Senegal.
President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Afreximbank, Prof. Benedict Oramah, said the introduction of the programme would help refocus continental efforts towards local food production to ensure food security, reduce high food costs and imports and minimise the impact of external shocks on Africa’s food supply chain.
He described the programme as an opportunity for the promotion of African cuisine to develop trade and local food value chain through promotion of local foods, highlight their superior health benefits to local and regional communities and support local restauranteurs and entrepreneurs to upgrade the dining experience through skills development and capacity building.
The programme would also improve access to finance to help build sector infrastructure, such as restaurants, franchises and packaged goods production plants, to develop the local food value chains and increase employment opportunities.
The launch featured a live demonstration and conversation with the Afreximbank President and Dr. Pamela Coke-Hamilton, Executive Director, International Trade Center, tracing the African food journey and its influence on food culture in the Caribbean, the Americas and globally.
The programme which was developed by African Food Changemakers had participating chefs Davisha Burrowes, Development Chef, Yolk Brands, Barbados; Christian Abegan, CEO Abegan & Co, Cameroon; Natasha de Bourg, President, Trinidad Culinary Limited, and Chef Stone of Red Dish Chronicles, Nigeria.
Oramah said the programme would develop an enabling ecosystem from farm to table and would address issues such as food sustainability, GMOs, local farming, the business of franchising and the art of African cuisine.
Afreximbank introduced its African Gastronomy Development Framework to finance the development and expansion of food service market infrastructure, support production of local packaged goods and other value-add products and facilitate training and capacity development of African chefs and sous chef, food technologists, nutritionists, food safety specialist, etc.