Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Monday, April 22, 2024

Sixth African Science, Technology and Innovation Forum

21 - 22 April, 2024
. Sixth African Science, Technology and Innovation Forum
  • Effective delivery of innovative science and technology solutions to reinforce the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Agenda 2063, and to eradicate poverty in Africa
  • Concept Note [English] | [French] | [Arabic]
  • Programme of work [English] | [French] | [Arabic]
The Sixth African Science, Technology and Innovation Forum (ARSTIF) was held from in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The ARSTI Forum reviews SDGs selected the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) which for 2024 will include Goal 1 (Poverty), Goal 2 (Hunger), Goal 13 (Climate Change), Goal 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions) and Goal 17 (Partnership for the Goals) and the corresponding goals of Agenda 2063.

The theme of the sixth African Science, Technology and Innovation Forum was “Effective delivery of science, technology and innovation solutions to reinforce the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Agenda 2063, and eradicate poverty in Africa”.

21/04 Policy dialogue on building inclusive, effective and accountable institutions in the fields of science, technology and innovation (Goal 16) for integrated climate action (Goal 13) in Africa


This session looked at how Africa can build inclusive, effective and accountable STI institutions that can tackle the challenges posed by climate change. How can our traditional hierarchical institutions be transformed to create open spaces for debating, sharing views, asking questions and for continuous searching for solutions to climate change? How and where should Africa direct its human capital development, and investment in R&D, innovation, entrepreneurship and industry to make major contributions in addressing climate change to achieve sustainable development? What are the emerging practices, evidence and solutions that can be scaled up in Africa? 
  • Moderator: Inter-regional advisor, UNECA, Frank Rutabingwa 
  • Future Earth Africa Hub Leadership Centre, University of Pretoria, Dr. Daniel Nyanganyura. 
  • CEO - Research and Community Engagement Affairs, Ministry of Education, Ethiopia, Dr. Solomon Benor, 
  • President, African Materials Research Society, Senegal, Professor Balla Diop Ngom 
  • Director, Science and Technology Policy Research Institute, Ghana, Dr. Wilhemina Quaye 
  • Senior Environmental Affairs Officer, TCND, ECA, Linus Mofor 
  • Research and Policy Officer, South Africa Climate Action Network, Moliehi Mafantiri 

21/04 High-level policy dialogue on building capacity in science, technology and innovation to eradicate poverty (Goal 1) and hunger (Goal 2)

This session explored elements that have kept both the number of poor and hungry people in Africa high; measures to address food availability, accessibility and businesses that create real paying jobs to create wealth; the potential rise of agro-processing industries as well as inputs (e.g. fertilizer, animal feed, energy producers) in reducing production costs and diversifying exports among other policy measures. It also addressed the importance of human capital development, knowledge and innovation in meeting both goals.
  • Moderator: Coordinator, African Materials Research Society, Samuel Chigome
  • Minister of Agriculture, Ethiopia, Hon. Ato Girma Amente 
  • Minister of Planning and Development, Ethiopia, Hon. Dr Fitsum Assefa Adela 
  • Director, Multilateral Cooperation and Africa, Department of Science and Innovation, South Africa, Mandry Ntshani 
  • Government Affairs and Public Policy, Public Affairs Manager, Google SSA, Alex Nyingi
  • Senior Private Development Sector Specialist, World Bank, Alejandro Espinosa-Wang, 
  • President, State University of New York Polytechnic Institute, United States, and Founder, African Materials Research Society, Prof. Winston Oluwole Soboyejo virtual 
  • Director AU Global Office and Representative to the AUC and UNECA, WFP, Dr Hameed Nuru 
  • Director of East and Southern Africa, IFAD, Ms. Sara Mbago-Bhunu (Virtual) 
  • Director for East and Southern Africa, UNFPA, Ms. Lydia Zigomo (virtual) 
  • SDG Integration Advisor for the African Region, UNDP, Dr Frederick Mugisha


22/04 Policy dialogue on using the African Continental Free Trade Area as a springboard for the development of science, technology and innovation.

This policy dialogue addressed, among others, the role science and innovation is or should play in the operational phase of the AfCFTA; determine what policy interventions are required, especially at regional and national levels to unlock the opportunities presented by the operationalization phase for STI; and unpack at a practical level how different aspects of the operationalization phase may be monitored. 
  • Moderator: Director Africa Multilateral Cooperation, Department of Science and Innovation, South Africa Ms Mandry Ntshani 
  • South African Research Chair in Industrial Development, University of Johannesburg, South Africa, Professor Fiona Tregenna (Online) 
  • Trade Attaché (Counsellor) and Senior Trade Negotiator to the AfCFTA, Embassy of the Republic of Angola in Accra, Ghana, Mr Rui Livramento (Online) 
  • Head, Science, Technology and Innovation Policy and Partnerships, African Academy of Sciences, Kenya, Nkem Khumbah 
  • Portfolio Manager, Technology Innovation Agency, South Africa, Dr Tozamile Rubuluza 
  • Chief Scientific Officer, Tokabio, South Africa, Dr Phiyani Lebea

22/04 Leveraging the International Decade of Sciences for Sustainable Development to promote science, technology and innovation in Africa 

The session discussed strategies for strengthening STI education, training, and research infrastructure in Africa to build a skilled workforce and promote ECA/STIF/2024/INF/2 8/11 knowledge creation and dissemination; explore initiatives to support the growth of innovation ecosystems in Africa, including incubators, accelerators, and technology parks, to foster entrepreneurship, technology transfer, and collaboration between academia, industry, and government; identify priority areas for STI intervention to address key societal challenges in Africa, such as healthcare, agriculture, energy, and environmental sustainability and discuss innovative solutions and partnerships to drive impact at scale; examine the role of digital technologies, including artificial intelligence, big data, and blockchain in accelerating STI and promoting inclusive development in Africa; and discuss strategies for harnessing the potential of digital innovation 
  • Moderator: Chief of Basic Sciences, Research Innovation, and Engineering Section, Natural Sciences Sector, UNESCO, Ms Amal Kasry 
  • Keynote speaker: President of UNESCO General Conference, H.E. Amb. Simona-Mirela Miculescu 
  • Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences (UNESCO), Lidia Brito 
  • Executive Director, African Academy of Science, Kenya, Dr Peggy OtiBoateng (online)
  • Chinese Academy of Science and Technology for Development, Secretariat, International Research and Training Center for Science and Technology Strategy under the Auspices of UNESCO (CISTRAT), Dr. Yang Jing 
  • Director, Future Africa and Strategic Advisor on Transdisciplinarity and Global Knowledge Networks, University of Pretoria (tbc), Heide Hackmann (online)
  • Member of the Steering Group of the Earth-Humanity Coalition, Professor of Earth Politics, Faculty of Humanities, University of Cape Town, Prof. Lesley Green
  • Manager, Emerging Markets Public Affairs, Google, Alex Nyingi 
  • Scientific Research Advisor to the Minister of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Technological Innovation, Republic of the Congo, Gabin Dimitri Ngantso, (tentative) 

22/04 Partnership in Action: Closing Funding Gaps to Accelerate Sustainable Development, the African Union-European Union Innovation Agenda 

Co-chair: EU Delegation to the African Union, Dr Laurent Bochereau, 
General scene-setting: The AU-EU Innovation Agenda
Commissioner for Education, Science, Technology & Innovation, African Union Commission, H.E. Prof Mohamed Belhocine

Sub session 1: How can STI4SDGs roadmaps help to mobilise and effectively guide STI investments decisions towards the most pressing SDGs? 

  • Introduction: Team Leader, Joint Research Centre, European Commission, Dr Angela Sarcina
  • Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Ms Lidia Arthur Brito
  • Director Science and Technology Policy Research Institute, Republic of Ghana, Dr. Wilhemina Quaye 
  • Head of Science, Technology Development and Outreach Department at National Council for Science and Technology (NCST), Republic of Rwanda, Mr Louis Sibomana
  • Director General, Division of Science, Technology and Innovation, Ministry of Investment, Entrepreneurship and Industry, Republic of Seychelles, Ms Cynthia Alexander 
  • Director of the Transformative Innovation Africa Hub (TIAH), University of Pretoria; Director of the Africa Transformative Innovation Policy Consortium (TIPC) at the University of Sussex Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU), Mr Daniel Chux 
  • Moderator: Scientific Affairs Officer, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Dr Victor Konde,

Sub session 2: How can the Innovation-Agenda help innovators access finance and grow their activities faster and in a more sustainable way? 

  • Introduction: Director for Africa Multilateral Cooperation at the Department of Science and Innovation, Republic of South Africa, Ms Mandry Ntshani
  • Officer at ENRICH in Africa, Ms Mélanie Mwangi
  • Founder of Angular Creative Labs, Mr Thato Kasongo
  • Founder of Mawejje Creations, Mr Dimma Mawejje Muhammed
  • Founder of YEWGlobal & ELO Petroleum, Ms Edma Lawer, 
  • Founder and CEO minoHealth AI Labs, karaAgro AI, Runmila AI Institute, Gudra AI Studio, Mr Darlington Akogo 
  • Co-founder of BACE Group, Ms Charlette N’Guessan
  • Moderator: Expert for GMES & Africa Program African Union Commission, Dr Taibou Ba

Sub session 3: How can innovation funders mobilise the AU-EU Innovation Agenda to identify bankable and truly innovative projects? 

  • Introduction: Director of Science Technology and Innovation in the National Council for Scientific Research and Technologies (CNRST), the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, Prof Mokhtar Sellami
  • Founder of VC4A, Mr Ben White
  • Advisor on Economic Integration, Office of the Secretary, General of the African Continental Free Trade Area, Dr Francis Mangeni 
  • Country Director to Ethiopia and AU, KfW Development Bank, Mr Jonas Dylla 
  • Co-Founder of Villgro Africa, Dr Robert Karanja
  • Moderator: Science Counsellor at the Swedish Embassy in Addis, Dr Amina Jama


Resource:



The Dashboard of initiatives contributing to the implementation of the AU-EU Innovation Agenda

Friday, April 19, 2024

Nourish the Dialogue: Investing in nutrition and diets as significant determinants of health

19 April 2024
. Nourish the Dialogue: Investing in nutrition and diets as significant determinants of health
  • Produced by Devex in partnership with CGIAR and IFPRI
This session will convene nutrition and climate experts to discuss the vital role of healthy diets; showcase a suite of proven solutions across the agrifood value chain for improving diets in low- and middle-income countries; and examine how best to scale these solutions so that everyone can reap the benefits of sustainable healthy diets.

Fireside chat: The importance of healthy and sustainable diets

  • Henrietta H. Fore, former Executive Director of UNICEF, former USAID Administrator and CEO & Chairman, Holsman International
  • Ismahane Elouafi, Executive Managing Director, CGIAR
  • Kate Warren, Executive Vice President and Executive Editor, Devex - interviewer

Panel conversation: Transforming food systems for improved nutrition and sustainability

  • Robert Bertram, Chief scientist, USAID
  • Geeta Sethi, Advisor and global lead for food systems, World Bank
  • Purnima Menon, Senior director for food and nutrition policy, IFPRI and CGIAR
  • Matthias Berninger, Executive vice president, public affairs, science, sustainability, and HSE, Bayer AG
  • Katherine Meighan, Associate vice president and general counsel at the International Fund for Agricultural Development

33rd Session of the FAO Regional Conference for Africa


18 - 20 April 2024
. 33rd Session of the FAO Regional Conference for Africa (ARC33) - Morocco, Hybrid Event

The 33rd Session of the Regional Conference for Africa (ARC33) put a spotlight on the FAO Strategic Framework 2022-2031 and the four betters: better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life, leaving no one behind.

The conference theme was Resilient agrifood systems and inclusive rural transformation.

Documents

Extracts of the agenda - Ministerial Roundtables 

Foresight analysis: Drivers and triggers of agrifood systems transformation in Africa 

By analysing emerging technologies, climate resilience strategies, market dynamics and cultural influences, the discussion provided insights into plausible futures for agrifood systems. Emphasis was placed on the transformative potential of youth and women empowerment and the role of effective policies in guiding positive change. 

Blue Transformation in Africa: The potential of aquatic foods 

The potential of aquatic foods underscores the pivotal role of aquatic resources in reshaping the continent's economic and nutritional landscape. 

Inclusive rural transformation in Africa: Agriculture mechanization, digitalization, women and youth 

Public-private partnerships were highlighted as key enablers of inclusive rural transformation, ultimately empowering communities through a holistic approach. The roadmap includes replicable models and strategies to achieve sustainable development, ensuring that no one is left behind in Africa's journey towards inclusive rural transformation. 

Decisions of the United Nations Conference of Parties to Climate Change, Biological Diversity and Combat Desertification 

The presentations underscored the importance of indigenous knowledge, robust monitoring mechanisms and financial strategies to facilitate coordinated action. 

Agrifood systems transformation in Small Island Developing States, Least Developed Countries and Landlocked Developing Countries 

By delving into the current state, challenges and opportunities, the discussion shed light on sustainable solutions tailored to these regions. 

Livestock Development Strategy in Africa 

The Livestock Development Strategy in Africa (with the AU–Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources [AU-IBAR]) aims to transform the continent's livestock sector into a resilient and sustainable contributor to food security and economic growth. 

Financing resilient agrifood systems and inclusive rural transformation: Boosting public and private sector investment 

By exploring investment opportunities, blended finance models, and inclusive financial instruments, the discussion emphasized the collaborative efforts of the public and private sectors. The presentation showcased case studies and success stories, providing tangible evidence of the positive impact of such investments. A roadmap for sustainable financing concluded the presentation, outlining actionable steps for creating an enabling environment that fosters resilience and inclusivity in Africa's agrifood systems. 

Members’ experience-sharing on the four betters and initiatives 

This was a dedicated session allocated for experience-sharing among Members on better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life, leaving no one behind. 

The Regional Hand-in-Hand Initiative Investment 

Forum dialogue with partners The Regional Hand-in-Hand Initiative Investment Forum dialogue with partners aims to catalyse economic growth in Africa through private sector engagement and strategic partnerships. Focused on key sectors and investment opportunities, the forum explored government policies, showcase successful collaborations and present case studies to inspire actionable insights. The Investment Forum served as a milestone in the ongoing commitment to the Hand-in-Hand Initiative, fostering a collaborative approach to shape the future of Africa's economic landscape

Webcast

Ministerial Session (April 18-20 2024)

Day One


Challenges & Tools of Israel’s Agricultural Sector in Response to Climate Change (Part 3)

17 April 2024. Challenges & Tools of Israel’s Agricultural Sector in Response to Climate Change

Insurance Solutions to Assist Farmers Against the Backdrop of Climate Change
  • Dr. Muamar Haj Ihie, Director of Agricultural Insurance Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Israel


Previous webinars

10 April 2024Challenges & Tools of Israel’s Agricultural Sector in Response to Climate Change

Risk Assessment for Israel Agriculture and Adaptation to Climate
  • Yael Kachel, Senior Economist - Strategy DivisionSenior Economist - Strategy Division. Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Israel - How to Transform Agriculture in The Era of Climate Change – The Role of Government
  • Marc Perel, Agriculture Meteorologist and co-cordinator of the Agricultural Preparation Committee on Climate Change, Soil Conservation & Drainage Unit Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development - Risk Assessment for Israel Agriculture and Adaptation to Climate


3 April 2024Challenges & Tools of Israel’s Agricultural Sector in Response to Climate Change

The climate crisis is one of the biggest threats to the global economy and to human wellbeing, already taking its toll and severely affecting our ecosystems, livelihoods and food security. Considered a "desert threshold" country, Israel is expected to face impactful climate changes resulting in extensive consequences for its agricultural and water sectors, among others. In view of these facts, Israel is making important steps to assist its agricultural sector in adapting to climate change, including formulating a quantitative assessment for prioritizing and targeting preparedness policies.

  • Head of MATC/ Ministry of Agriculture Rep. Israel - A Country on the Frontline of Climate Innovation
  • Ambassador Gideon Behar, Special Envoy for Climate Change Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel Food Farming in Light of Changing Climate: Challenges and Solutions
  • Dr Gidon Toperoff, co-cordinator of the Agricultural Preparation Committee on Climate Change Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development


Resources

Loss and Damage Fund – Where Are We Now?

15 April 2024. Loss and Damage Fund – Where Are We Now?
  • as part of the UNFCCC online series organized by PAFO, in collaboration with FFD and AHA.
This seminar provided a general overview of:
  • Update on the Loss and Damage Negotiations and its significance for smallholders. 
  • How to use weather information to verify disasters and/or losses.
Speakers: 
  • Mr. David Kaluba, In-country NDC focal point, Ministry for Green Economy and Environment, Zambia 
  • Mr. Juhana Hyrkkänen, Director, Weather, Sea and Climate Service Centre from the Finnish Meteorological Institute.

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Ensuring healthy diets for better nutrition

17 April 2024
. Ensuring healthy diets for better nutrition for all: accelerating efforts and leveraging partnerships for sustainable development
  • This conference, organised by the Belgian Federal Public Service of Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation, the Directorate-General for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and Ghent University, is a collective effort to align with the Sustainable Development Goals, offering a unique opportunity to address interconnected global challenges.
  • The anticipated outcome is not just knowledge but actionable insights—a roadmap towards ensuring healthy diets and better nutrition for all.
Download the Programme and the Speakers

Opening

  • Prof. Rik van de Walle, Rector Ghent University 
  • Ambassador Hugo Brauwers, Deputy Director General for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid 
  • Mr Maurizio Martina, FAO Deputy Director-General 
  • Laeticia Toé, IRSS Burkina Faso & Ghent University, Belgium

Healthy diets for nutrition: are we making progress? 

  • Caroline Bollars, WHO
  • Leonard Mizzi, Head of Unit Sustainable Agri-Food systems and Fisheries - European Commission, International Partnerships 
  • Bridget Holmes, Nutrition Officer, FAO 

Scaling up effective approaches and policy frameworks Speakers: 

  • Katharina Beelen, Rikolto, Belgium 
  • Bridget Fenn, Nutrition Research facility 
  • Bruno Gautrais, Head of Unit E2, DG Health and Food Safety, 
Accelerating efforts and effective partnerships for healthy diets and nutrition: what’s needed? 
  • MSc Nutrition and Food Systems Ghent University 
  • Antonia Potter Prentice, Director of Alliance 2015 Generation Nutrition
  • Namukolo Covic, Regional Director, East and Southern Africa, CGIAR 
  • Josep Puxeu Rocamora, European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) Group I — Employer's, representing the Spanish Food and Drink Industry Federation (FIAB) and Director-general of the Soft Drinks Association (ANFABRA) 
  • Ambassador Brieuc Pont, Special Envoy for the Nutrition for Growth Summit, French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs - closing remarks
  • Prof. Carl Lachat, Ghent University - closing remarks

Harnessing AI for Digital Extension Services

16 April 2024
. Harnessing AI for Digital Extension Services
  • Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services (GFRAS) in partnership with the Southern Africa Agri Initiative (SAAI), FANRPAN and AiFarmer
  • Discover how advancements in artificial intelligence are revolutionizing digitalization efforts within the agricultural sector, unlocking new opportunities for enhanced advisory services and knowledge dissemination.
  • Gain valuable insights into leveraging AI technologies for sustainable agricultural development and improved livelihoods.
Recording forthcoming

Francois Rossouw Southern African Agricultural Initiative (SAAI) University of Pretoria/Universiteit van Pretoria 
André Strauss, CEO of CohesionX the developers of AELA's AI Farmer technology. (Agricultural Extension Language Assistant)
  • AI Farmer, AELA’s flagship application, represents a significant leap forward in agricultural extension services. Traditional extension programs, while foundational, have faced challenges such as limited reach, especially in remote areas, language barriers, and a one-size-fits-all approach that often fails to address the specific needs of individual farmers. 
  • AI Farmer is designed to overcome these hurdles by providing personalized, accessible, and

    actionable agricultural advice through advanced AI technology.
Archana Karanam, an ICT for ARD professional and has been a vital part of Digital Green since 2009


Some key takeaways from the meeting include:

- AI can help address challenges in agricultural extension like limited access, language barriers, limited time/resources for farmers, and more by providing on-demand advice to farmers.

- Both PSI and Digital Green are working on AI platforms to deliver personalized advice to farmers through chatbots and mobile apps. They curate agricultural data and train AI models to answer farmers' questions.

- It's important to have human experts involved to ensure AI responses are accurate, unbiased, and address local farming conditions. Feedback mechanisms also help improve AI over time.

- Value chain actors beyond just producers could potentially benefit from AI extension platforms, though more work may be needed to apply them throughout supply chains.

- Localization of AI systems, including supporting many languages and addressing local terminology, is an ongoing challenge but critical for adoption.


See Otter chat

The potential of organic and biofertilizers for soil health management in Africa

16 April 2024. InfoPoint Hybrid Conference: The potential of organic and biofertilizers for soil health management in Africa

Recording forthcoming


Several studies have indicated that soil organic matter content and nutrients balance can be improved at farm level through proper agronomic practices in mixed farming systems. However, fertilizers are still needed to improve productivity. Off-farm production of safe and affordable organic fertilizers and biofertilizers could provide another pathway for soil health and productivity improvement in Africa. 

However, a lack of information and knowledge exists regarding the production, marketing, and utilization of commercial organic and biofertilizers. In fact, many relevant initiatives exist involving various actors such as Farmers' Organizations, NGOs, and SMEs.

With a view to inform policy dialogue addressing the fertilizer crisis and food security challenges, DG INTPA, through DeSIRA-LIFT, commissioned a scoping study on the off-farm production and marketing of organic and biofertilizers in 12 case-study countries in Africa

In this conference the results of the scoping study was shared and two SMEs shared their experiences regarding the potential of commercial organic and biofertilizer production and marketing.
  • Carla Montesi, Director INTPA F- Green Deal, Digital Agenda
  • Bernhard Freyer, Pierre Ellssel and Fortunate Nyakanda, Scoping Study results
  • Representative from Zim Earth Farms, African producer (Zimbabwe)
  • Representative from Safisana, African producer (Ghana)


Resource:

Bernhard Freyer, Pierre Ellssel, Fortunate Nyakanda & Stéphanie Saussure (2024) Exploring theoff-farm production,marketing anduse of organicand biofertilisersin AfricaA scoping study | March 2024 #253 p

KNOWLEDGE BRIEF - Exploring the off-farm production, marketing and use of organic and biofertilisers in Africa #17 p

The study address the use and acceptance of organic and biofertilizers, the potential development of these inputs, the marketing systems, the support services (research and advisory services), the national policies and regulatory framework .

See an overview of the main recommendations.
  1. Organic and biofertilisers (OFBF) demonstrate strong potential in addressing soil fertility, enhancing crop yields and contributing to the nutrient cycle in Africa.
  2. To unlock Africa’s potential for soil health and agricultural productivity, a holistic approach is crucial.
  3. Support to local and national initiatives on OFBF must be scaled.
  4. Recycling organic wastes can potentially cover 20-40% of an agricultural system’s nutrient requirements.
  5. Positive socio-economic impacts from organic fertiliser use can be realised through centralised or decentralised collection, processing and distribution systems tailored to raw material characteristics and volumes from waste streams, local circumstances and current organic fertiliser dynamics in each country.
  6. Waste-based organic fertiliser production and use can yield various positive environmental impacts.
  7. To overcome cultural and traditional barriers to the adoption of OFBF, initiatives of education and advisory services play a vital role.
  8. Biofertilisers, or biostimulants, cover various products with distinct traits. Additional research is required for a comprehensive understanding and strengthening of biofertilizer impact and use at scale.
  9. Research on OFBF and soil amendments, including biochar and liming, is highly recommended to establish an evidence base on product efficacy.
  10. Waste management regulations exist in almost all of the case study countries. However, the subsequent application and enforcement of these regulations is lacking.

Prospective analysis of Senegalese agriculture in 2050: agro-industry versus agroecology?

16 Avril 2024
Analyse prospective de l’agriculture sénégalaise en 2050: agro-industrie versus agroécologie ?"

Recording forthcoming


The main objective of this event was to share and discuss the main conclusions of the “AgroEco2050-Senegal” foresight exercise and its implications for sustainable agri-food systems in Senegal.

Jointly implemented by the government of Senegal, CIRAD, ISRA-BAME, FAO and DyTAES, with financial support from GIZ on behalf of BMZ, AgroEco2050-Senegal appears to be an essential initiative aimed at informing long-term visions for Senegalese agriculture.

This collective effort has engaged scientists, farmers, policymakers and institutions to shape the future. AgroEco2050-Senegal aimed to clarify and quantify two different visions of what agriculture, food, nature, employment and well-being could be in Senegal by 2050. One vision was based on intensification of conventional industrial agriculture (IA), while the other was based on scaling up of agroecology (AE). The objective was to compare and understand the implications of these two different paths and to verify their consistency.

This dynamic three-hour event brought together civil servants, researchers, representatives of civil society and the private sector, as well as stakeholders from Senegal and the international community. Through expert advice and stakeholder engagement, the event fostered dialogue, raised awareness and stimulated action towards a sustainable and prosperous agricultural landscape in Senegal.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

How Can Businesses Secure a More Sustainable, Equitable and Resilient Future for the Food Sector?

11 April 2024.
How Can Businesses Secure a More Sustainable, Equitable and Resilient Future for the Food Sector?

Co-hosted by the Food and Land Use Coalition (FOLU), World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), and We Mean Business Coalition, the event will delve into key insights from a recently published report series: ‘Future Fit Food and Agriculture’ revealing that US $205 billion per year is needed from the food sector to mitigate half of global food system emissions.

While significant, these costs are manageable for the sector as a whole as they represent less than 2% of total food sector revenues. Industry leaders will discuss the critical role companies play in addressing emissions resulting from agricultural production and land-use changes within their value chains.
  • Morgan Gillespy, Executive Director, Food and Land Use Coalition
  • Alex Andreoli, Associate, Sytemiq
  • Emeline Fellus - Senior Director, Agriculture and Food & Member of the WBCSD Extended Leadership Group.
  • Owen Bethell - Environmental Impact Lead Global Public Affairs, Nestle
  • Milindi Sibomana- Chief Agriculture Officer at One Acre Fund Rwanda
  • Luke Pritchard- Deputy Director, Nature Based Solutions, We Mean Business Coalition

Resources


FOLU (2024) The financial implications of mitigating agriculture and land use change emissions forbusinesses #27 p + Key Messages #3 p
  • Investment from the food sector of approximately US $205 billion per year between 2025 and 2030 could mitigate up to 9 GtCO2e annually by 2030.
  • While significant, these costs represent less than 2% of total projected food sector revenues and come with other benefits including access to new and growing markets, some on farm savings and improved supply chain resilience.
  • This report highlights that the burden of mitigation varies depending on where actors sit along the value chain. A critical challenge is that the costs are currently projected to land most heavily on farmers, who are the least able to pay.
  • Overcoming this inequity requires companies to reassess how they partner with actors in the value chain, particularly farmers, and how they engage with policymakers to accelerate action.

FOLU (2024) Developments in voluntary frameworks and standards and their influence on legislation for businesses #30 p + Key Messages #2 p
  • Businesses setting and implementing ambitious climate and nature strategies today will be better prepared for future sustainability regulation, facing fewer compliance risks and experiencing less disruption in their supply chains.
  • Ambitious companies can not only leverage established and emerging voluntary standards to get ahead of the game, but they can and should also seize the opportunity to advocate for harmonized standards and regulation, which will accelerate the food sector’s transition to a sustainable future.

Climate and energy futures: Africa's path forward

10 April 2024. Climate and energy futures: Africa's path forward
Attend via webcast by Institute for Security Studies (ISS) with AUDA-NEPA

This seminar examined Africa's climate and energy futures, shedding light on various scenarios, including the consequences of a global carbon tax and aggressive energy policies, and the transformative effects of transitioning to sustainable practices. It discussed two new reports that examine Africa’s development prospects if countries adopt sustainable energy policies. 
  • Moderator: Ottilia Anna Maunganidze, Head, Special Projects, ISS
  • Panelists: Dr Jakkie Cilliers, Head, African Futures & Innovation, ISS
  • Alize le Roux, Senior Researcher, African Futures & Innovation, ISS
  • Saliem Fakir, Executive Director, African Climate Foundation
  • Prof Abubakar Sambo, Chairman, Nigerian Member Committee of the World Energy Council

Resources


AFI (2024) Africa’s Climate Future #34 p. 

The implementation of differentiated carbon taxes and the pursuit of the Sustainable Africa scenario could offer a path to significant emission reductions and improved economic outcomes. However, the success of these measures is contingent on the continued exploitation of gas resources to avoid energy and financial crises. Africa needs to prioritise adaptation if it wants to ensure the safety of communities and infrastructure amidst the ongoing climate crises.

AFI (2024) Africa’s Energy Future #41 p.

Africa is experiencing a growing addiction to gas and oil. Yet, in 2023, Africa produced only 6.6% of world energy, which would increase to 8.1% in 2050 - a portion vastly out of balance with its large and growing population and development needs. Energy demand, however, in Africa is less than 5% of the world. The difference between production and demand reflects that the continent has abundant energy resources but exports a significant portion. According to the Climate Action Tracker, around 40% of Africa’s gas production is exported, primarily to Europe, China and India whilst again importing refined products.

The Africa Energy Policy scenario examines the ramifications of diminishing coal and oil production without limiting gas. The analysis indicates that constraints on gas production would create an unmanageable energy production shortfall for a continent still with very low levels of energy availability. The scenario includes various mitigation efforts and the expansion in renewables, hydro, and nuclear power needed to bridge the remaining energy demand gap. The scenario also incorporates carbon sequestration and enhanced energy efficiency measures to gauge their impact on carbon emissions.

Challenges & Tools of Israel’s Agricultural Sector in Response to Climate Change (Part 2)


10 April 2024
Challenges & Tools of Israel’s Agricultural Sector in Response to Climate Change

Risk Assessment for Israel Agriculture and Adaptation to Climate
  • Yael Kachel, Senior Economist - Strategy DivisionSenior Economist - Strategy Division. Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Israel - How to Transform Agriculture in The Era of Climate Change – The Role of Government
  • Marc Perel, Agriculture Meteorologist and co-cordinator of the Agricultural Preparation Committee on Climate Change, Soil Conservation & Drainage Unit Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development - Risk Assessment for Israel Agriculture and Adaptation to Climate

Resources

Previous webinar

3 April 2024Challenges & Tools of Israel’s Agricultural Sector in Response to Climate Change

The climate crisis is one of the biggest threats to the global economy and to human wellbeing, already taking its toll and severely affecting our ecosystems, livelihoods and food security. Considered a "desert threshold" country, Israel is expected to face impactful climate changes resulting in extensive consequences for its agricultural and water sectors, among others. In view of these facts, Israel is making important steps to assist its agricultural sector in adapting to climate change, including formulating a quantitative assessment for prioritizing and targeting preparedness policies.

  • Head of MATC/ Ministry of Agriculture Rep. Israel - A Country on the Frontline of Climate Innovation
  • Ambassador Gideon Behar, Special Envoy for Climate Change Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel Food Farming in Light of Changing Climate: Challenges and Solutions
  • Dr Gidon Toperoff, co-cordinator of the Agricultural Preparation Committee on Climate Change Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development

Next Session: 


Apr 17, 2024 14:00 Third Meeting – Insurance Solutions to Assist Farmers Against the Backdrop of Climate Change
  • Dr. Muamar Haj Ihie, Director of Agricultural Insurance Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE TECHNOLOGY IN AFRICA

Microsoft (2024) AI in Africa: Meeting the Opportunity #82 p.

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Unleashing the Catalytic Power of Donor Financing of agrifood systems

GDPRD (2024) Unleashing the Catalytic Power of Donor Financing to Achieve Sustainable Development Goal 2 # 48 p.

This report is dedicated to bilateral and multilateral donors engaging in blended finance, who aim to boost access to commercial finance by agrifood small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The investigation included a series of interviews which explored how donors, philanthropic organizations, public funds and blended capital funds can make their funding effective and act as an incentive for achieving SDG 2.

The report shows the risk appetite of donors and DFIs is on the rise. This is a unique opportunity for donors, DFIs and their beneficiaries in developing countries to make widespread changes by implementing the recommendations of this report.

Four key findings and recommendations are presented from the Donor Platform and Shamba Centre for Food & Climate's 2023 enquiry.

The report’s central message shows the catalytic power of aid. If donors and development finance institutions (DFIs) take higher risks with their grants and lending, every donor dollar has the potential to mobilize four dollars in commercial finance. When this happens, agrifood SMEs will have more financing, domestic lenders will participate, and markets will deliver affordable borrowing prices.

Read the report.

Key findings and recommendations

Key finding 1: Blended finance can make the biggest contribution to SDG 2 by focusing on the missing middle: agrifood SMEs seeking finance of between US$50,000 and US$2 million
  • Key recommendation 1: Donors and DFIs can increase the flow of finance to agrifood SMEs by:
  1. building the agrifood expertise and risk appetite of domestic lenders, including developing an agrifood credit risk assessment scorecard, as proposed by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa;
  2. scaling up priority lending programmes and results-based lending incentives for domestic banks, encouraging them to use their own balance sheets to lend to agrifood SMEs;
  3. increasing finance for affordable, indemnity-based, weather-indexed and crop-indexed insurance;
  4. incorporating bookkeeping and accounting skills into SME technical assistance programmes.

Key finding 2: Every dollar of concessional finance can mobilize four dollars of commercial finance; however, whether those four dollars deliver a sustainable development impact will determine if blended finance can bring not only financial additionality but also development additionality.
  • Key recommendation 2: Donors and the wider blended finance community can expand the pool of blended finance by:
  1. reducing transaction costs related to the exploration, negotiation and conclusion of blended finance transactions;
  2. exploring how donors can provide not only first-loss financing but also lending at commercial rates, where returns on these investments can be ring-fenced for reinvestment into the same or other blended transactions;
  3. continuing to provide grants for technical assistance for SMEs and domestic lenders, as they bring high levels of financial and development additionality;
  4. sharing data, reducing transaction costs and collaborating on cofinancing through the creation of a multi-donor working group, supported by a sustainable finance knowledge hub.
Key finding 3: DFIs are governed by rules that discourage them from taking risks to provide finance that would otherwise not be available from commercial lenders.
  • Key recommendation 3: Donor governments must provide DFIs with dedicated funds that allow them to:
  1. offer higher-risk loans, such as first loss and mezzanine debt, that have well-defined targets on sustainable food and agriculture;
  2. provide long-term credit lines, guarantees, transaction advice and technical assistance to domestic financial institutions to build institutional knowledge on sustainable agrifood systems.
Key finding 4: More research and data on the performance of agrifood SME loans that originate from donors are a prerequisite for making ODA catalytic.

Extracts of this report

  • In 2022, lenders from CSAF primarily directed their lending to cash crop value chains (CSAF, 2023a). Agrifood SMEs and farmers’  organizations involved in coffee, cocoa, cashew nuts, soya beans and quinoa received most of the loans, with only 24 per cent going to value chains of other crops for domestic consumption in 2022.  (page 12)
  • Aceli Africa provides results-based financial incentives to domestic lenders in Kenya, Rwanda, the United Republic of Tanzania, and Uganda. In the absence of these incentives, local lenders would not be lending to agrifood SMEs. The incentives are designed based on lending data from 31 financial institutions, including local banks, international social lenders and members of CSAF. (...) Aceli Africa’s budget for 2020–2025 is US$75 million, more than 50 per cent of which is used to provide incentives. As of October 2023, Aceli Africa’s incentives had supported 1,404 loans totaling US$142 million (60 per cent of loans to first-time borrowers). (page 17)
  • In September 2023, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, each with a preliminary contribution of US$35 million, launched the FASA Fund to increase financing for smallholder farmers and agricultural SMEs in Africa with financing needs of between US$200,000 and US$5 million. The initial commitments from USAID and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation are expected to attract additional contributions from other donors totaling US$200 million. (...)  The US$200 million donor contribution is expected to unlock US$1 billion in commercial financing. (... ) The US$1 billion of commercial financing mobilized is expected to support 500 agrifood SMEs, create 60,000 private sector jobs, benefit 1.5 million smallholder farmers and positively affect about 7.5 million people. (page 22)
  • Africa Improved Foods is a social enterprise producing affordable fortified foods for pregnant and lactating women and for infants. It was established in 2015 as a joint venture between the Agaciro Development Fund, Royal DSM, FMO, the Dutch entrepreneurial development bank, the
  • Department for International Development Impact Acceleration Facility managed by the CDC Group and the International Finance Corporation (FMO, n.d.).  (page 25)

Related:

CSAF (2023) Closing the Gender Gap in Agricultural Investments: How Three CSAF Investors Are Turning Gender Intention Into Action. # 28 p.


The report features case studies on Incofin, Alterfin, and Cordaid Investment Management, three impact investors who were able to successfully turn their gender intentions into action by focusing on the Gender Lens Investing (GLI) strategies most aligned with their business and impact priorities. 

Root Capital, in collaboration with Value for Women and CSAF, provided comprehensive GLI training to these three investors as part of the "Strengthening the Livelihoods of Women Smallholders through Investments in Gender-Inclusive and Women-Led Agricultural Businesses project". The project aims to establish a replicable model and evidence base for other donors and investors to adopt GLI practices.

Extracts of this report
  • Over 65% of women in certain regions such as sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia earn their living from the agriculture sector. Yet, women receive only 7% of total agricultural investment. (...)
  • On average, women-led enterprises experience year-on-year growth rates of 25.7% CAGR (compound annual growth rate) and 45.2% AAGR (average annual growth rate). Gender inclusive businesses experience, on average, year-on-year growth rates of 20.6% (CAGR) and 35.1% (AAGR). (page 6)

CSAF (2023) 2023 State of the Sector # 26 p.


The 2023 State of the Sector report shares market insights drawing upon quantitative and qualitative input from 20 financial institutions and provides a deeper analysis of the risks agri-SMEs and lenders face, and how agricultural lenders can respond. 

In 2022, CSAF members issued loans totaling $750 million to over 650 businesses across 59 countries. Lenders sustained high volumes of lending following a year of significant growth, though there were large variances across regions, and sustained high additionality despite an increasingly maturing agri-SME finance market. 
Extracts of this report
  • CSAF lenders disbursed $750M in 2022 to over 650 businesses across nearly 60 countries. (2013–2022: $6.2B)
  • The sector needs to constantly be innovating new tools, subsidies, and blended finance structures to mitigate those risks and continue to deliver impact for agri-SMEs.
  • Sub-Saharan Africa remained the largest destination for CSAF member financing, but experienced negligible growth in 2022. (page 17)
  • Coffee continues to comprise the majority of CSAF member lending activity, reaching an all-time high in 2022
  • Cocoa lending reverted to 2020 levels, driven predominantly by lower activity in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana.
  • Macadamia lending. After a couple of years of a steady downward trend, disbursement to tree nut enterprises grew significantly in 2022. Driven primarily by an increase to macadamia processors in Kenya of $16M, nut disbursements returned to 2019 levels.

Monday, April 8, 2024

Recordings in thematic order

AgriFoodTech Investment

 

27 February 2024. Nairobi, Kenya. Leveraging effective and inclusive collaboration with financial institutions to accelerate the transition to more circular economies Recorded

28 - 29 February 2024. 11th Sankalp Africa Summit  Recorded
  • The Sankalp Africa Summit at the Kenya School of Monetary Studies in Nairobi catalyzed collaborations across the entrepreneurial ecosystem in order to solve global challenges sustainably.
5 March 2024. Climate Change and the African Financial Sector Recorded
  • Making Finance Work for Africa (MFW4A) and Climate Finance and Investment Accelerator Limited (CFIA), in partnership with the African Financial Alliance on Climate Change (AFAC)
13 March 2024, Accra – The 3rd African Agribusiness Leaders Dialogue (AALD3) Recording not (yet?) available
  • This dialogue was held online and in person in Accra
  • It highlighted the barrier-breaking role of young African 'agripreneurs' in the agrifood sector.
  • Partners such as GIZ, FSD-Kenya, African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership, AGRA, National Research Fund, International Food Policy Research Institute, Tegemeo Institute, Association of Fintechs in Kenya, AGRA, Association of Microfinance Institutions of Kenya, Fertilizer Association of Kenya, Apollo Agriculture, Kenya Union of Savings and Credit Co-operatives, SNBX Capital, contributed to this conference and transformation of the Agricultural sector in Kenya.
  • See the program
28 March 2024. Session two of the ‘Backing the Middle’ series Video
  • This session hosted a discussion with donors to discuss where concessional capital is best utilized in the agri-SME finance market.
  • Session 1 Highlights
29 March 2024. Brussels Africa Political Outlook 2024
  • Panel #1 Autopsy of the Global Gateway: dynamics in relations between the EU and Africa
  • Panel #2 Resurgence of coups in Africa: rethinking, reinventing and rebuilding democracies
  • Panel #3 Investing in Africa: the AfCFTA, the diaspora and impact investment 
  • Panel #4 Building on our commons: the potential of entrepreneurial innovation, civil society and territorial dialogue
  • Panel #5 Impact of the 2024 European elections on EU-Africa relations

Food systems

7 March 2024 Global Food 50/50 Launch Event Recorded

8 March 2024 Official Launch of the 4th BR Report and Post Malabo Agenda Roadmap Recording not (yet?) available

  • The Theme of the event was “Reflecting on the Malabo Declaration and Outlining the new (Post Malabo) Agenda to Build Momentum, Re-invigorate and Consolidate the Gains on CAADP, and respond to Emerging Trends and Dynamics”.
  • AU (2024) 4th CAADP Biennial Review Report 2012-2023 #170 p
11–13 March 2024. Leuven, Belgium. Open Food Conference Recording not (yet?) available
  • The aim of this conference was to create synergies between science, policy and practice in more than 20 thematic sessions.
  • To inaugurate the 2024 webinar series, this webinar gained a deeper understanding of how the community operates and how various stakeholders such as companies, governments, sector groups, and NGOs are addressing the challenge of achieving a Living Income.
  • The RMRN Project is funded by the European Union (EU) as part of its Regional Multi-year Indicative Programme (MIP) for Africa (2021-2027)
  • The MIP will support strengthening the consortia of Africa based institutions to lead interventions in Africa in several domains including multi-stakeholder partnerships to bring agroecological innovations to scale, using co-learning, co-creation, and multi-stakeholder approach.
  • Related: 9-10 March 2024. Tunisia. The ANzAR Forum 2023: Agroecology in North Africa Video
  • 20/03 17h:50 – 18:20 The AU-EU Innovation Agenda A Forward-looking Cooperation for the Africa-Europe Partnership
  • 20/03 17h:50 – 18:20 Evolution of Association of Third Countries to EU Research & Innovation Framework Programmes
  • 21/03 11:40 – 12:10 Innovation Ecosystems for Bioeconomy and Food Systems 
19–20 March 2024. Montpellier. The Montpellier Process: Pooling Collective Intelligence Recording not (yet?) available
  • The event gathered 300 selected individuals from scientific and policy domains, focusing on intentional, diverse representation.
  • The Blue Bioeconomy ERA-Net Cofund will organise a Final meeting in Brussels to mark the end of the ERA-Net. The event will gather science-policy professionals and research and innovation funders to discuss R&I project portfolio management, using a Value Chain Approach and creating synergies among projects. 
  • BlueBio funding partners, policy officers from The European Commission, representatives from relevant HE Partnerships and other institutions will be invited to join the one-day event in Brussels.
19 - 24 March 2024. VIII Global Conference Family Farming: Sustainability of Our Planet

  • Co-organized by IFPRI, CGIAR, and Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
  • Chaired by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Rwanda, the launch event was the premier drum beat and kick start event towards the Africa Food Systems Forum 2024, that will be held from September 2-6, 2024, in Kigali Rwanda.

Nutrition

12 - 13 March 2024. The World Banana Forum (WBF)  Recorded
  • 12/03 Session 1: Setting the Scene and Looking Ahead Towards the Future of the Banana Industry
  • 12/03 Session 3: Towards a more Sustainable Banana Industry. Achieving a Fairer Distribution of Value
  • VACS was launched in February 2023, in partnership with the African Union, FAO, and U.S. Department of State, with the goal of advancing more climate-resilient and nutritious food systems in Africa. A team of researchers from AgMIP, based at the Climate School, participate in VACS, conducting research to better understand how African opportunity crops can be used to address the challenges that African food systems face under climate change.
  • Why and how did nutritionists, plant breeders, climate modelers, soil scientists, economists – 60 global experts – decide on these crops.
  • Upcoming: 23 April 2024. VACS Community of Practice Webinar: Optimizing the Vision for Adapted Crops and Soils - Hosted by FARA
  • This virtual event brought together legume value chain stakeholders from across the region with a special emphasis on Malawi, Mozambique, and Zambia
  • The focal crops are common bean and cowpea.
21 March 2024. The biology of soybean rust and the available management options through Recorded
  • This webinar highlighted the biology of soybean rust and the available management options through a panel interview of soybean rust experts.
29 March 2024. International Year of Millets Closing Event Recording not (yet?) available

  • hosted in partnership with Bayer Crop Science.
  • In this webinar, the panel drew on case studies to identify practical and impactful farmer-centric solutions for building the relationship between healthy soils, regenerative agriculture, and climate-resilient food systems at scale.
11–15 March 2024, Livingstone, Zambia. Accelerating Nature-based Solutions summary videos
  • The Global EverGreening Alliance, the Government of Zambia, AFR100, African Natural Capital Alliance (ANCA), FSD Africa, and the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, hosted the world's largest land restoration programming conference, which brought together NGOs, governments, the private sector, technical and scientific experts, and community representatives.
  • Related: 11 March, 2024, in Lusaka, Zambia. Official launch event of the Agdive 2024 program. Agdrive is an acceleration and investment platform focused on unlocking innovation and investment in Africa’s agro-processing, agritech, and digital agriculture sector.  AgDrive is a 12 month innovation and investing ecosystem focused on innovative early stage and growth oriented early stage and growth oriented small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the agro processing, agritech, and digital sectors. 
  • FAO, Biovision, the Food Policy forum for Change and the Agroecology Coalition
  • learnings from Eastern and Southern Africa summarised in the outcome brief “National Agroecology Strategies in Eastern and Southern Africa: Lighthouses for food system transformation” which was launched during the event 
27 March 2024.  Webinar – Scaling DeSIRA – Strategies and policy Recording not (yet?) available
These webinars were the second of the series on how the innovations processes promoted by DeSIRA projects and their organizations, can or should be brough to scale. It targets projects that are coming to an end as well as those that need to start building their exit strategy as part of their theory of change.

27 March 2024. Overcoming barriers to building the circular bioeconomy Recording not (yet?) available
  • FAO, RUAF and the CGIAR Initiative on Resilient Cities 

Climate adaptation

4-5 March 2024. North Africa DIGITAL CLIMATE ADVIASORY SERVICES (DCAS) hybrid training event to support climate resilience for smallholder agriculture Recorded

Trade

Digital agriculture




European Union/Commission

20 - 21 March 2024. European Research and Innovation Days 2024 Recorded
  • The European Commission’s annual flagship research and innovation event brought together policymakers, researchers, stakeholders, and the public to debate and shape the future of research and innovation in Europe and beyond through key policy debates, funding and networking opportunities, and dedicated workshops.
  • Highlight: Closing remarks Janez Potočnik, Chair ForumforAg 2024 and Chairman RISE Foundation.