Ben Eguzozie, with wire copy
The African Development Bank (AfDB) has returned as a top-tier partner of the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) – Africa’s largest annual agriculture conference – which brings together delegates from governments, civil society, the private sector and research communities.
The 10th edition of AGRF, hosted by Rwanda and the AGRF partners group, is organized under the theme: “Feed the cities, Grow the continent. Leveraging urban food markets to achieve sustainable food systems in Africa,” began Monday and runs till 11 September. The event, which is being held online due to Covid-19 pandemic, is headlined by African heads of state and government.
Wambui Gichuri, AfDB’s acting vice president for agriculture, human and social development, said, “as COVID-19 causes disruptions across Africa, we must prioritize policy support, especially for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that produce, process and market 60% of food consumed on the continent.
“We need to enhance movement of inputs and food, increase production of and access to healthy and nutritious foods, establish food security task forces in countries, as well as strengthen regional organization capacity to monitor multi-country initiatives. AGRF is the platform to move these policy conversations forward,” Gichuri said.
The AfDB acting vice president leads the bank’s “digital delegation” to AGRF, which also includes Atsuko Toda, director for agricultural finance and rural development; Martin Fregene, director for agriculture and agro-industry; Esther Dassanou, coordinator of the bank’s Affirmative Finance Action for the Women of Africa initiative (AFAWA), and Edson Mpyisi, coordinator of the bank’s ‘enable youth programme.” The bank delegation will take part in nine AGRF sessions.
Gichuri is scheduled to deliver remarks during a nutrition-themed plenary: “Building back better – growing the continent. This policy symposium to be held Wednesday afternoon, will discuss the UN’s “The state of food security and nutrition in the world, the ongoing pandemic, and feeding the continent.”
Toda moderated a bank-organized AGRF side event Monday afternoon. The session: “Integrating African Food Systems through the Lens of SME Champions,” amplified the voices of small and medium enterprises in the production, processing, logistics, and cold chain solutions sub-sectors.
“Feeding Africa’s growing population is not just about producing more food. It’s also about getting food to people who need it most. We support entrepreneurs along food system value chains helping to make that happen,” Toda said.