Mar 28, 2024 | Announcement, News

Rwanda to Host the Africa Food Systems Forum 2024 and Calls for Radical Transformation of African Food Systems.

Speakers during the launch ceremony advocate for a global and inclusive summit that is grounded on Africa’s food systems priorities to ensure food security for all.

Kigali, Rwanda – March 26th, 2024 – Rt. Hon Dr Èdouard Ngirente, Prime Minister of the Republic of Rwanda, has this afternoon officially launched the Africa Food Systems Forum 2024 annual summit, the premier forum for African agriculture and food systems in Kigali, Rwanda.

The theme for this year’s summit – Innovate, Accelerate and Scale: Delivering food systems transformation in a digital and climate era – underscores the urgent need to radically transform African food systems.This transformation should enhance local food production, bolster resilience to climate change, uplift African livelihoods, and harness the continent’s potential to tackle global challenges.

The theme highlights the need to prioritize three key actions: innovating, accelerating, and scaling up. Regarding innovation, the 2024 Summit will shine the spotlight on innovative policy delivery mechanisms, financing initiatives, research, and business models. As we evolve in a digital age, the summit will showcase cutting-edge technologies and equipment to manage climate impact, digital and financing gap, food waste and loss to name a few. Participants and delegates will have the opportunity at the Summit to network with the innovators and thought leaders driving these state-of-the-art technologies and developments.

Speaking at the launch, the Rt. Hon, Ngirente said, “To transform the agriculture sector into a powerful engine for economic development, our country is embracing innovation and making evidence-based-policy decisions. In this context, the Government has focused on de-risking the sector to ensure that it becomes more profitable and attractive for the youth and private sector actors,” he said.

The Prime Minister emphasized the imperative for African nations to bolster local production efforts. Emphasizing the critical link between local food production and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), he stressed the significance of meeting domestic needs and fostering inter-African trade. Highlighting the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) as a pivotal instrument for realizing these goals, his address also underscored the need to cultivate youth involvement in agriculture.

The AFS Forum will take place from September 2-6, 2024 in Kigali, Rwanda. The summit is expected to host approximately 5000 delegates from across the food systems eco system. Speaking to the significance of the event, H.E. Hailemariam Dessalegn, the Chair of the AFS Forum Partner’s group, emphasized the pivotal role of youth in accelerating the delivery of sustainable and prosperous food system.

“With an abundance of emerging African young talents, remarkable innovations, and proven practices and solutions both locally and internationally, scaling up adaptation and replication is feasible. However, achieving this requires mobilizing actions and investments on a large scale, especially from the private sector,” he said.

The launch ceremony is the premier drum beat and kick start event towards the Africa Food Systems Annual Summit , in September. The summit will bring together business leaders, potential investors, high-ranking government officials, thought leaders, and farmers under the same roof to make the connections needed to unlock investment and financing opportunities for medium and small enterprises (MSMEs), youth, women and government-led deals and unleash the potential for faster, widespread, food systems transformation across Africa.

About AFS Forum

The Africa Food Systems Forum (AFS Forum), is the world’s premier forum for African agriculture and food systems, bringing together stakeholders to take practical actions and share lessons that will move African food systems forward. The Forum is a multi-sector platform comprising of 28 partners leading in African agriculture all focused on putting farmers at the center of the continent’s growing economies. The AFS Forum exists to progress Africa’s Food Systems and promote agricultural excellence across the diverse landscapes of our continent.

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The Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI) has the mission of promoting the sustainable development of a modern, efficient and competitive agriculture and livestock sector, to ensure food security, agriculture export and diversification of the productions for the benefit of the farmer and the economy of the Country.

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For more information on MINAGRI please contact

Eugene Kwibuka, Agriculture Information and Communication project manager at MINAGRI  on

For more information on AFS Forum please contact

Catherine Ndu’ngu, Senior Communications and Advocacy Officer on

Mar 23, 2024 | Featured, News

Rwanda to host Africa food systems summit

The Africa Food Systems (AFS) Forum in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI) will host the official launch of the Africa Food Systems Annual Summit 2024, on March 26, at the Kigali International Convention Center (KCC). AFS is the world’s premier forum for African agriculture and food systems, bringing together stakeholders to take practical action and share lessons that will move African food systems forward. The summit will be held from September 2 to 6, 2024, in Kigali.

Africa Food Systems Managing Director, Amath Pathé Sene, mentioned that the summit is timely this year, considering crises like Covid-19, the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the Israel-Hamas situation, and others impacting the African continent in various ways. “Currently we are still having issues in terms of food security and nutrition, but also jobs for youth and women which governments need to address, feeding your people and creating opportunity. There are challenges and gaps. It is only six years remaining to reach 2030 to achieve Sustainable Development Goals and one year for Malabo Declaration which must be accelerated,” he explained.

Under the Malabo Declaration, governments have to allocate at least 10 per cent of public expenditure to agriculture. However, Sene said that many countries are still lagging.

Africa Food Systems Managing Director, Amath Pathé Sene during the interview with The New Times. Photo by Emmanuel Dushimimana
Africa Food Systems Managing Director, Amath Pathé Sene during the interview with The New Times. Photo by Emmanuel Dushimimana

“Few of them—less than 10 out of the whole group—have reached that target and more is still needed. Apart from governments’ budget allocation, we still have a lot of gaps in private sector investments. Private sector investment is still very low in many countries. For instance, in Rwanda, agriculture loans are 6 per cent of total loans,” he said.

According to Oxfam International, the majority of African governments (48 out of 54) reportedly spend an average of 3.8 per cent of their budgets on agriculture—some as little as 1 per cent.

The goal of the forum is to scale up the continent’s efforts by drawing closer key stakeholders for a common purpose, to unleash the full potential of Africa’s millions of smallholder farmers and their families who earn their livelihoods from small-scale farms and produce about 80 per cent of the food and agricultural products consumed across the continent.

Only 1.7 per cent of total global climate finance is allocated to smallholder farmers.

“The sector requires innovative finance. For the simple reason, it is a risky sector on the African continent. There is a lot of gender and youth gap. Some of them do not own land or assets as well as technical capacity. The barriers need to be removed to help the system and enable a conducive environment.

“You can produce food but it needs to come to the market from the village to the city. The system needs to be connected. We need green and climate financing because when it is raining, or dry spells, we need to adapt better, we need blended finance, de-risking, public-private partnership,” he said.

Venture capital to support startups and other businesses with the potential for substantial and rapid growth, equity, loans, joint ventures, grants, and philanthropic resources are part of innovative financing to address food insecurity and create jobs for youth and women in agriculture, he said.

Sene said that there are huge opportunities for women and youth in agriculture. This is fundamental given Africa’s rapidly growing population – an estimated 440 million young people will enter the labour market in Africa by 2030 (IFAD 2023) – and the recent job losses caused by the pandemic.

“The sector can help us reverse our import bill which is currently at $60 billion and it will continue to grow if what is needed is not done at the country and continental level. We have to make sure that this sector is also modernised to attract young people and also reduce the burden of the work to women,” he said.

The summit will look at ways of increasing productivity through adequate financing, technical support, and capacity-building for smallholder farmers.

“We are in an era of urgency. The vulnerability of the continent to climate change is huge because we do not have the resources to deal with the shocks when there are droughts, floods, and landslides like last year in Rwanda. We really need to adapt to climate change. Countries have commitments on what to do every year. There are green funds to support countries. But the pledge has not yet been fulfilled,” Sene added.

Some of the expected September summit outcomes, he said, include learning from Africa’s food system, opportunities, collaboration and partnership between countries and continents, private sector players, farmers, new financing models to be shared, business opportunities for SMEs, access to latest technologies to be showcased, research products, deals to be signed, and more.

(article originally published: The New Times)