Leaders set to accelerate Africa’s path to prosperity by growing economies and jobs through agriculture
Over 750 delegates and high-level dignitaries, including African Heads of States, Ministers, and key stakeholders in the agricultural sector, are convening this week in Côte d’Ivoire’s economic capital, Abidjan, for the 2017 African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF), Africa’s premier agriculture gathering.
As envisioned in its theme, “Accelerating the Path to Prosperity: Growing Inclusive Economies and Jobs through Agriculture”, the Forum will provide a platform for global and African leaders to develop actionable plans that will move African agriculture forward.
It will be an opportunity to showcase ongoing progress in Africa’s agricultural transformation agenda and scale up the political, policy and financial commitments needed to achieve the Malabo Declaration and global agenda around the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Welcoming delegates to the Forum and to Côte d’Ivoire, West Africa’s leading agricultural and economic powerhouse, Mamadou Sangafowa Coulibaly, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, expressed his country’s pleasure at being the first Francophone African country to host the AGRF, which is now in its 7th year. “Côte d'Ivoire is the land of agriculture. Agriculture is the backbone of our economy and our robust growth is driven by sustained investment in agriculture and smallholder farmers,” said Coulibaly
“Numbers speak for themselves. The sector contributes 26 percent of our GDP, 40 percent of all export revenue, close to 75 percent of non-oil export revenue and employs close to 60 percent of the population. We look forward to this week’s engagements and the opportunities it will unlock for our country and the continent as a whole,” he added.
More importantly, the AGRF2017 will provide an opportunity for African political and business leaders together with their development partners, to show progress towards the commitments they made at the 2016 Forum in Nairobi, Kenya where over US $30 billion worth of political, financial and policy pledges were made in support of Africa’s agriculture.
“We look forward to sustaining and harnessing the momentum created last year. We are delighted to note the progress that has been made by the various partners that committed to increase investments to improve production, income and employment for smallholder farmers and African agriculture businesses over the next ten years,” said Dr. Agnes Kalibata, President Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa. “This year’s Forum is an opportunity to continue the push to harness agriculture’s potential as the continent’s best bet to create inclusive economies,” she added.
With more than 50 specially designed sessions, discussions at the Forum will further the messages and calls made in other global and continental gatherings this year, including the African Development Bank (AfDB) Annual Meetings, the AU Summit and the G20 and G7 Summits, which have focused heavily on the creation of jobs for youth.
“Agriculture is instrumental in Africa’s poverty: it must also be instrumental in its wealth,” African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina wrote ahead of the Forum. “Only through agricultural regeneration can growth, diversification and job creation occur for African economies, for no region of the world has ever industrialized without the agricultural sector being first transformed. AGRF offers a platform to align our visions and priorities.”
One highlight of the meeting will be the release of the landmark annual African Agriculture Status Report (AASR). This year’s edition looks into the business of smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa and advocates for an inclusive transformation that links millions of small farms to agribusinesses, creating extended food supply chains and employment opportunities for millions including those that will transition from farming.
Another ground-breaking moment during the AGRF will be the awarding of the second laureate of the Africa Food Prize, now in its second year. The accolade calls attention to individuals and institutions that are inspiring and driving agricultural innovation throughout Africa. The Africa Food Prize Committee is chaired by Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of Nigeria.
Value chain-specific deals are also expected to be agreed on especially those that will promote the growth of agribusiness in the West African region to spur inclusive economic growth.
AGRF 2017 is hosted by President Alassane Ouattara, a continental champion of agricultural investment, and his team of Senior Government Leaders, including Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly, Vice-President Daniel Kablan Duncan, Minister for Agriculture Amadou Coulibaly, and other key Cabinet Members. The other co-hosts are the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and the 15 members of the AGRF Partners Group.