Pathways to recovery and resilient food systems
AGRA has always understood how the development of resilient food systems opens up markets for Africa’s farmers, as well as ensuring food security for all its people. For this to be most effectively achieved it requires the collective efforts of all countries and it was with this in mind that AGRA became the host of the AGRF. The AGRF serves as the world’s premier forum for advancing Africa’s agricultural agenda by enabling presidents of African countries to congregate and adopt a common position.
From 7 to 10 September 2021, over 8,500 delegates gathered in peron or virtually, at the AGRF 2021 Summit in Nairobi, Kenya to call for and plan action on building resilient food systems in Africa. Hosted by the Government of Kenya under the leadership of H.E. President Uhuru Kenyatta, and the direction of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Co-operatives. The 2021 AGRF Summit’s theme focused on “Pathways to Recovery and Resilient Food Systems” and heralded a strong call for Africa and the world to change the way we produce, process, market and consume food. Food systems transformation is imperative if Africa is to achieve the key sustainable development goal of ending hunger by 2030.
The AGRF 2021 Summit came at a critical time when food systems were under enormous pressure from different shocks and stresses, including the pandemic, climate change, pests and diseases that cost the region billions of dollars. Throughout the AGRF there was a strong emphasis on new, future commitments to achieve transformation by 2030. During the week commitments were showcased that exceed US$12.5 billion in planned funding to 2030 and programs that will transform value chains in dairy and rice as well as new initiatives to support entrepreneurship, renewable energy, and innovation.
The Agribusiness Dealroom
The 2021 AGRF summit recognized the breadth of policy and financial commitments required to drive investments, from the government to the private sector. In the Agribusiness Dealroom, over 4,500 entrepreneurs and leaders from 89 countries presented US$ 5.1 billion in investment needs. This included 14 investment opportunity pitches, made by governments, focused on over 190 investors and financial service providers who participated throughout the week, and interacted with the 160 speakers, of whom over 40% were women speakers. Recognizing that SMEs are key to building resilient food systems, especially those led by women and youth, 822 SMEs sought investment in the Agribusiness Dealroom. Participants learned from each other and the experts through the knowledge/ capacity-building sessions.
AGRA is a core member of The Generation Africa partnership, a continental initiative aimed at creating advocacy for youth-led agricultural SMEs while building an enabling ecosystem of support to youth agripreneurs through advocacy. In 2021, Generation Africa conducted a series of activities, with the underlying objective of creating a new agricultural narrative and inspiring a new generation of agripreneurs.
The campaign was spearheaded by the GoGetazz prize, which is described in the Women & Youth section, but a range of other activities were conducted, including the Pitch AgriHack Prize; the continuing development and curation of the GoGetazz community, providing access to education, catalytic programming, investment and commercial partners; an advocacy program that ensured agripreneurs’ opportunities and challenges are understood and brought into agenda-setting forums; and finally, the development of an ecosystem which draws together national and country-level partners to address constraints through improvement to the enabling environment for agripreneurship.
Recognizing Food Systems innovators
The AGRF has become a moment to celebrate talent in Africa. The Africa Food prize was awarded to the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT). The GoGetazz agropreneur prizes went to two bright young people engaged in SMEs. The Pitch AgriHack awards recognized both women-led agribusinesses but also the different stages of entrepreneurial growth. Women agripreneurs were honored through the Value4Her WAYA awards, emphasizing the need for collaboration, mutual learning and solidarity
The UN Food Systems Summit was held during the UN General Assembly in New York on September 23, 2021. AGRA’s President, Dr Agnes Kalibata, was appointed by the UN SecretaryGeneral as Special Envoy. At the Summit Dr. Kalibata called on world leaders for a new deal for People, Planet and Prosperity to set the stage for global food systems transformation to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Attention is now focused on turning commitments to National Food System Pathways into action and impact on the ground. For more information on next steps: https://www.un.org/en/food-systems-summit