Rwanda Steps Forward as Continental Hub for Food and Agricultural Systems
Kigali, Rwanda, November 26, 2019 – Significant progress has been made in African agriculture in the past decade, with countries that have prioritized the sector recording improved food security, higher nutrition levels, and stronger economic growth. The Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) has served a radar for agricultural transformation, wealth creation, food security and nutrition, economic growth and prosperity for all.
Despite this progress, in Africa today, more people are hungry and poverty levels are rising in some countries due to population growth, climate change, and other challenges. The continent still needs to do more to move from food shortage to surplus, drive beneficial trade, and create millions of jobs and opportunities, particularly for women and youth.
Business and progress as usual is not enough for Africa’s aspirations. More than 100 stakeholders from Africa’s agricultural community gathered today in Kigali to rally around this agenda. With five years left to achieve the agricultural transformation vision and goals laid out in the AU Malabo Declaration and related CAADP, and ten years left to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Africa is entering into a critical decade of action in agriculture to achieve its aspirations.
Without a change of approach and pace, Africa stands to be the only continent still struggling with hunger in 2030; Africa would still be importing significant amounts of food it could be producing for its own people, if not the world.
To this end, the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) – the world’s premier Forum for advancing Africa’s agricultural agenda – is committed to taking its impact several notches higher. The AGRF Partners stressed that “progress as usual is not enough to achieve Africa’s aspirations; we must do more and do it more urgently and successfully.” This is particularly important to unleash the full potential of Africa’s millions of smallholder farmers and their families who earn their livelihoods from small-scale farms and provide about 80% of the food and agricultural products consumed across the continent.
AGRF, now in its 10th year, recognizes that it must drive a more intentional and inclusive agenda with more partners taking advantage of new technologies, policy reforms, political will, and investment flows that will ensure African agriculture sustainably feeds and nourishes its growing population, whilst lifting millions out of poverty.
Speaking at the event in Kigali today, H.E. Hailemariam Desalegn, Former Prime Minister of Ethiopia and Chair of AGRA and the AGRF Partners Group said, “Agriculture is the driver of an inclusive economic transformation in Africa. As more countries recognize this and prioritize the sector for their growth, the AGRF provides a great platform for showcasing progress, sharing lessons, and holding each other accountable. It also creates a platform to secure financial, policy and program commitment to address emerging challenges, including climate change.”
As AGRF moves forward, the partners reiterated that they were thrilled to work with the Government of Rwanda to drive this pan-African agenda together, building on Rwanda’s own lessons and strong commitment to placing agricultural transformation at the center of its economic transformation. Rwanda was selected as the long-term home of the Forum through 2025 following a competitive bidding process, and this was announced at the AGRF 2019 Summit in Accra, Ghana in September of this year.
Speaking at the event, Hon. Gerardine Mukeshimana, Minister of Agriculture & Animal Resources Rwanda said, “Rwanda is delighted to be the home of Forum. This will provide us an opportunity to drive a shared vision towards agricultural transformation both here in Rwanda and across the continent, and ensure the delivery on the commitments and ambitions of the agriculture sector towards achievement of the Malabo Declaration.”
Driven by the urgency to act, the AGRF is also strengthening its year-round programmatic platforms to drive action on priority issues. Its teams and partners will work throughout the year on platforms like Generation Africa to advance youth agri-preneurship, a Regional Food Trade Coalition to support the continental free trade agenda, and an agribusiness deal room to unlock greater investments and finance for agribusiness and SMEs. Success will be measured by real progress on the ground. The AGRF will continue to culminate in the pinnacle annual AGRF Summit that brings together thousands of leaders from Africa and beyond to move the sector forward.
Dr. Agnes Kalibata, President of AGRA and host of the independent AGRF Secretariat, reinforced the commitment of the AGRF Partners Group to ensuring the Forum moves beyond talk to real action. She noted that, “The AGRF Partners Group – currently 23 leading actors in African agriculture, and set to grow to at least 35 actors next year – is revamping its strategic approach to put the full weight of the Forum behind this continental leadership and campaign that will drive Africa’s agricultural development at the heart of its economic development. Working together, we can ensure the policies, programs, and investments that will transform the lives of millions of smallholder farmers, grow African businesses, and put a good number of countries on the path to a sustainable agricultural transformation.”
The Government of Rwanda and AGRF Partners welcomed new partners to join them in this campaign and its upcoming events. The annual AGRF 2020 Summit will be held on 8-11 September, 2020 at the Kigali Convention Center.
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AGRF is a partnership of institutions that care about Africa’s agriculture transformation. The AGRF Partners Group is made up of a coalition of 22 leading actors in African agriculture all focused on putting farmers at the center of the continent’s growing economies. Partners currently include the African Union Commission (AUC), the African Development Bank, the African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP), the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, CGIAR, Corteva, the Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Grow Africa – a Center of Excellence of the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD), the International Development Research Center (IDRC) of Canada, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Mastercard Foundation, NEPAD Agency, OCP Group, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions (SACAU), Syngenta, the UK Department for International Development (DFID), UPL, the US Agency for International Development (USAID), and Yara International ASA.