African Leaders at the Ninth Annual African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) have emphasized the need to adapt digital technologies as a capable means of addressing issues that have been major barriers to tapping agriculture’s potential, to provide a host of new economic opportunities across the continent.
The Leaders agreed that the coordinated efforts of public and private sector actors can unlock the potential of advances in everything from big data to block chain systems, drones, robotics, and machine learning platforms to overcome many different challenges and generate a host of new opportunities, particularly for the youths.
The Ninth AGRF which held in Accra, Ghana, was themed “Grow Digital: Leveraging Digital Transformation to Drive Sustainable Food Systems in Africa.” The event had series of technical assessments, policy analyses, and political discussions produced a new level of consensus that could dramatically accelerate efforts to use digital innovations to make farming in Africa more productive, profitable, sustainable and inclusive.
The Forum included a historic Presidential Summit which comprised of Heads of State & Government, eminent persons, and hundreds of leaders and stakeholders present from across Africa’s agriculture and agribusiness sector
The AGRF Presidential Summit featured critical insights into policies and strategies that are delivering proven progress in the agriculture sectors of African countries. It focused on the promise of digital innovations to greatly accelerate the African agriculture transformation and ensure that the 21st Century is Africa’s Century.
Speaking at the forum, President of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo noted that AGRF 2019 was an essential opportunity to ensure agriculture is a top priority of every country’s development agenda and that digitalization and data strategies play a major role in fulfilling their commitments of the Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agriculture Growth in Africa—along with Ghana’s ambitious Planting for Food and Jobs Initiative.
On his part, Vice-President of Nigeria, Yemi Osinbajo also pointed to high-potential initiatives in digital agriculture that are attracting a new wave of young Nigerians to the agriculture sector. He also noted that the ubiquity of mobile phones is making such things as digital payment platforms accessible across the population, including among poor farmers in remote rural areas.
Ministers of Agriculture from various countries met to discuss similar themes to the Presidential Summit, with a Ministerial Roundtable that featured influential business leaders and produced a series of new commitments.
The Ministers resolved to drive the delivery of national and regional agriculture investment plans through well planned, implementable and measurable flagship and through prioritization of critical policy actions that each Minister will pursue in line with the national investment plans.
The AGRF 2019 also featured an Agribusiness Deal Room where private and public sector stakeholders executed commitments worth over $200 million to develop and strengthen several value chains in Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Uganda, and Eswatini.
The Forum was attended by more than 2400 delegates from 89 countries and high-level dignitaries, including President of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo; President of Niger, Mahamadou Issoufou; Vice President of Nigeria, Yemi Osinbajo, Prime Minister of Rwanda, Hon. Édouard Ngirente; Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Tony Blair; Former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo; Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Hailemariam Desalegn; and Former Prime Minister of Benin Lionel Zinsou, among others.
Other important Forum leaders and speakers included Ministers of Agriculture from across Africa, heads of international agencies and CEOs of global, regional and national business companies within and outside of Africa.
The AGRF since 2010 has been established as the premiere platform for leaders across Africa and around the world to advance concrete plans and share knowledge to tap the enormous potential of agriculture to drive equitable and sustainable growth across the continent.