By Godfrey Olukya 4-7-2013
FAO’s partnership at this year’s Agri-Business Forum with other stakeholders will provide essential international and public sector expertise regarding Africa’s agricultural sector, in parallel to the vast representation of global and African leading companies expected to attend.
The forum, entitled ‘The Agri-Food Sector: A Catalyst for Sustainable and Inclusive Growth in Africa’, will take place in Kigali, Rwanda
from 6-9 October 2013.
In response to this partnership, Eugenia Serova, newly appointed Director of Rural Infrastructure and Agro-Industries Division at the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) explains, “Agriculture is still the major source of employment in the country – Rwanda – (73% of country labour force) and therefore considered a priority in the development agenda of the country We need to develop solutions on how to increase inclusiveness of all stakeholders in the markets without hurting efficiency”, she said.
Serova says that the focus on the Agri-Food sector as a strategic engine for growth is of particular importance, given the social,
demographic and economic trends that will generate a market for food and beverages recently estimated to reach $1 trillion in 2030. The expected growth in global commodity markets for Africa’s traditional exports is a further driver for agricultural and agribusiness
development in the continent.
The realization of the full potential for inclusive growth will require the encouraging examples of good governance and sound
development policies seen throughout the Continent, which must be continued and expanded, Serova adds. “In addition, the relatively high resilience of the African continent is positive; the average growth rate in Africa makes up to 5%. Direct FDI are constantly growing in the Eastern Africa Countries (EAC).
Alongside the FAO partnership, Rwanda’s Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources will jointly host the AgriBusiness Forum 2013. Minister Dr. Agnes Kalibata said agenda for hosting the forum is clear: “To promote Rwanda’s, the East Africa Community’s (EAC) and Africa’s potential in the Agri-Food sector.”
In addition, this year’s forum will again be held in collaboration with Rabobank Foundation, which works extensively throughout Africa providing access to finance for rural farmers. To highlight innovative business projects coming out of Africa, EMRC and Rabobank Foundation are once again collaborating for the Project Incubator Award, which offers a cash prize of US$15,000 to an African cooperative project that is pushing the boundaries in innovation and sustainability in agriculture and rural development.
The AgriBusiness Forum will showcase the key issues currently underpinning the Agri-Food sector and highlight expected objectives
and business projections. International agricultural experts, Government officials, multinationals, farmer and private sector
associations, donor organisations, civil society, investors and financiers representing Africa, Europe, Asia and the Americas will
participate to discuss on-going projects, best practices and strategic policies with the aim of establishing investment and business
partnerships for this sector, acknowledged as pivotal for the entire continent’s growth.