Africa urged to de-risk agriculture sector as continental forum opens

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Africa needs to de-risk its agriculture sector in order to attract its young population which is seen as key to the sector transformation, an official said Tuesday while opening the 10th edition of the African Green Revolution Summit here.

“The young African population is key factor to transform Africa’s agriculture sector. However, we must de-risk the sector, and use digital technologies to attract the youth to the agricultural sector,”Edouard Ngirente, Rwandan Prime Minister said while opening the summit in the Rwandan capital Kigali.

Africa’s population stands at 1.2 billion people and over 60 percent are below the age of 25, according to UN.

This will support the continent to achieve the target of tripling intra-African trade in agricultural commodities and services by the year 2025, the premier added.

Noting that intra-Africa food trade is also still low compared to other regions, Ngirente called on African countries to increase the value of trade in agriculture by creating conducive environment for cross border trade.

“Transport systems should be streamlined to facilitate urban-rural linkage. This will increase rural farmers’ income and make it possible for the urban consumers to get food at affordable prices,” he said.

He also called for improvement in agriculture infrastructure in Africa, adding that building rural feeder roads will enable market access for rural small producers.

“We have to take care of our nutrition. We must work together to create resilient food systems so that they can block us from shocks and enable us to bounce back as a continent,” Hailemariam Dessalegn, the former Prime Minister of Ethiopia and chairperson of African Green Revolution Forum Partner Group said during the opening.

This summit co-organized by the Rwandan government is being held in a hybrid model because of COVID-19.

It runs from Sep.8 to 11 under the theme: “Feed the Cities, Grow the Continent – Leveraging Urban Food Markets to Achieve Sustainable Food Systems in Africa.”

The discussions focus on ways to rethink the continent’s food systems to ensure that they are efficient and resilient, to deliver food to growing urban populations and achieve prosperous outcomes for all.

According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 61 percent of the world population will be living in urban areas by the year 2025.

 FAO also states that more than half of Sub Saharan Africa population could be living in urban areas by 2050, posing huge challenges for poor towns and cities, which already face challenges such as poverty and inequalities.

Taking part in the summit are more than 2000 delegates from governments, civil society, the private sector, the research community and development partners. African Green Revolution Forum brings together stakeholders in the agricultural sector to develop concrete action plans for moving the continent’s agricultural agenda forward.

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