6-8 May 2014 in Abuja, Nigeria. The 2014 Grow Africa Investment Forum hosted this year top leaders committed to Africa’s agricultural transformation. African leaders have reaffirmed their commitment to transforming the agricultural sector across the continent as a way to overcome poverty.
Speaking at the 2014 Grow Africa Investment Forum taking place in Abuja, Nigeria, the leaders agreed that increased private sector investment in agriculture is key to delivering economic opportunity and food security within their countries.
High-level African Strategic Infrastructure
Initiative meeting in Abuja, Nigeria
“There are huge opportunities in agriculture. This will create jobs and achieve food security,” said Goodluck Jonathan, President of Nigeria. “The key is not just producing enough food for local consumption, but also creating jobs along the value chain,” he added.
The government has to create the environment for the private sector, because when the private sector sees the gains they can make in a particular sectors they will make the efforts. "One of the key areas which government is trying to the necessary environment is agriculture. Agric should be practiced in this country as a pure business along the value chain," he added.
“For years, Africa’s agriculture was marked by low productivity, low production,” noted President Jakaya Kikwete. Thanks to an agriculture transformation based on a blueprint started at the World Economic Forum on Africa in 2010 in Dar es Salaam, he said, adding that Tanzania is now seeing dividends. As a result, “hunger can be overcome, and increased income can reduce poverty.”
For his part Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda said: “We have made some progress on the ground”. He said this is largely due to investment in land management, seed quality, technology, water management and other factors, including the important role of smallholder farmers.
The Minister of Agriculture, Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, at the forum urged African leaders to seek agricultural development funds from the continent's emerging capital market.
"Agriculture has all it takes to drive the inclusiveness needed in the positive economic growth witnessed in the continent. African leaders must ensure that they leverage the private sector to ensure effective participation in the programme and also raise money from various domestic capital markets to support the sector. "The bond, equity market and the unused pension fund, in the case of Nigeria, could be used to see how to make agriculture a business for the youth to buy into," he said.He also urged international financial institutions like African Development Bank (AfDB) and World Bank to assist in the continent's effort to develop agriculture.
In 2013, Grow Africa partners doubled their commitments for agriculture and food security to US$7.2bn.
- Of this, US$970m is already invested, which has led to the creation of 33,000 new jobs and assistance to 2.6 million smallholder farmers throughout the continent. The increase in committed funding is captured in the recently published Grow Africa Annual Report.
- As an African-owned and country-led platform, Grow Africa works to catalyse increased and inclusive investment and multi-stakeholder partnership in the agricultural sector, in line with African countries’ Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programne (CAADP) plans.
- Grow Africa is currently operating in nine partner countries including Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda and Tanzania.
- At the meeting, Daniel Kablan Duncan, Prime Minister of Ivory Coast, announced that his country will join the partnership as the tenth member.
- The Grow Africa partnership is a joint initiative of the African Union Commission, the NEPAD Agency and the World Economic Forum.