The practice and art of choosing, cooking and eating African food have received a boost in the ongoing Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF2023) taking place in Cairo Egypt. This was possible through the effort of African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) which launched the African Gastronomy and Culinary Arts Programme under its Creative Africa Nexus Initiative (CANEX).
The happened during the third edition of the Infra-African Trade Fair (IATF2023). CANEX African Gastronomy and Culinary Arts Programme featured nine celebrity chefs from Africa and the Caribbean taking part in masterclasses, live cooking demonstrations and conversations with culinary experts.
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.
The programme also had in attendance front-line Food Change-makers such as; 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.
According to the President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Afreximbank, Benedict Oramah, the introduction of the programme would help to refocus continental efforts towards local food production to ensure food security, reduce high food costs and imports and minimize the impact of external shocks on Africa’s food supply chain.
Oramah said that 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.
He further revealed that the programme offer 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 restaurants and entrepreneurs to upgrade the dining experience through skills development and capacity building.
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. Among other important opportunities, the programme present, improve finance, which will fast track development of franchises and package goods production production plant, increase employment opportunities and the development of local food value chains.
The launch featured a live demonstration and conversation with the Afreximbank President and 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.