AGRF 2022 Officially Launched in Kigali, Rwanda
The 2022 AGRF Summit, in Kigali Rwanda, was officially opened on Tuesday September 6, during a session attended by leaders in Africa’s agriculture and food systems.
The AGRF is the world’s premier forum for African agriculture, bringing together stakeholders in the agricultural landscape to take practical actions and share lessons that will move African agriculture forward.
This year’s edition marks a return to in-person attendance following a two-year break brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Under the theme Grow. Nourish. Reward – Bold Actions for Resilient Food Systems, participants, including heads of state, ministers of agriculture, leaders of development organizations, the scientific community, and private sector investors, will for four days engage in conversation and deals intended at driving an inclusive and sustainable agricultural transformation in Africa.
Rwanda’s Prime Minister, the Right Honorable Dr. Édouard Ngirente, officially opened the summit with an appeal for collaboration between Africa’s different stakeholders in fast-tracking Africa’s food system transformation.
Citing the successful launch of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Hon. Ngirente, urged leaders to view food system transformation as a key foundation of the continent’s economic growth.
“We have seen bold actions at the continental level, with our heads of state and government coming together to form the AfCFTA … we now need to leverage such mechanisms to ensure that we are better able to meet our food security needs,” he said.
“African countries need to fully commit to driving a comprehensive agriculture transformation as a key foundation of our economic growth,” he added.
His sentiments were echoed by H.E. Hailemariam Dessalegn, the former Prime Minister of Ethiopia and current board chair of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), who reiterated that Africa’s future well being is dependent on today’s actions.
“A food systems transformation is key to economic transformation … we need this now… anything short of this implies that Africa is likely to be the only hungry continent by 2030,” he said, while reiterating that quicker action is required to achieve the key sustainable development goals of ending hunger and poverty by 2030.
Rwanda’s agriculture minister Hon. Gerardine Mukeshimana added: “We need to come up with actionable plans to get us out of the present crises, but also to develop our resilience for future survival”
As part of the activities to drive the requisite food transformation, African countries were urged to invest in innovation technology, with Gambia’s agriculture Minister Hon. Dr. Demba Sally singling out investments in post-harvest handling as urgent.
“Most parts of West Africa have about 30% of their food going to waste…we must seriously invest in processing and marketing,” he said.
More areas of investment, noted AGRA President Dr. Agnes Kalibata, are contained in the food system pathways that countries committed to at the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit in New York.
The launch event culminated with the launch of the 2022 African Agriculture Status Report (AASR), whose theme is Accelerating African Food Systems Transformation.