Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Pathways to food security for Sudan

  • The Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO) Sudan and FSD Africa commissioned Wellspring to undertake a rapid assessment of the agri-food and enabling payment systems in Sudan, to inform a coordinated emergency response that promotes food security. 
  • This webinar provided insights on the current situation, critical challenges and proposed interventions that can be deployed.

Recording forthcoming


FSD, Wellspring (2023) Rapid Assessment of Food and Payment Systems in Sudan for a Coordinated Food Security Emergency Response November 2023 #24 p.

Sudan is facing worsening conflict that is contributing to a food insecurity crisis. The most recent Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) report identified over 20 million Sudanese who are currently experiencing acute food insecurity – 42% of the population and the highest number ever recorded in the country.1 Consequently, the Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO) Sudan and Financial Sector Deepening (FSD) Africa commissioned a rapid assessment of the agri-food and enabling payment systems in Sudan, to inform a coordinated emergency response that promotes food security.
  • Sorghum, millet, and wheat are three key staple crops consumed in Sudan
  • In addition to the three main cereal value chains, there are others that may be regionally important for food security, including horticulture, legumes and pulses, and oilseeds.
Analysis of value chain segments
  • Access to inputs has decreased dramatically as a result of the ongoing conflict, mainly due to lack of access to inputs financing.
  • Farmers have abandoned mechanization due to high fuel prices. 
  • Planting during the recent summer season has significantly decreased compared to past years
  • A large proportion of Sudan’s processing capacity was concentrated in Khartoum and has been destroyed.
  • There are, however, small and medium agriprocessors still operating in other states, and some larger conglomerates have also relocated processing operations to cities such as Port Sudan since the conflict.
  • The current conflict has disrupted traditional pathways to market. 
  • Financial service providers (FSPs) have been very directly impacted by the conflict as well, with the vast majority of financial institutions still non-operational.
  • The current conflict, and its impact on traditional financial institutions, has prompted a surge in demand for digital financial services
  • The use of informal payments systems, known as hawala, has also risen to fill the gap left by non-operational formal financial institutions

There is an ongoing debate around the importance of wheat for food security in Sudan, as it is mainly consumed in urban areas and may not be suitable for domestic production. On the one hand, Sudan’s domestic wheat production is not cost-competitive against imports, and the type and quality of domestic wheat is often  not suitable for flour milling (...) Wheat flour and bread have been heavily subsidized for end consumers, and protests around previous withdrawals of subsidies and rising wheat prices have toppled governments. (page 7)

The African agrochemicals industry's current state

The "Africa Agrochemicals Market Size & Share Analysis - Growth Trends & Forecasts (2023 - 2028)" # 120 p.

With agriculture taking precedence in numerous African government agendas, notable increments in national budget allocations to this sector are observed, alongside increasing private sector investment. Concurrently, key market players are emphasizing innovation and partnership, which signals a dynamic shift towards more advanced agrochemical solutions to meet the burgeoning demands of the agricultural sector. 

African fertilizers manufacturing plants

According to the Africa Fertilizers Organization report, a total of 14 fertilizer manufacturing plants were mapped in 2020

  • There were 151 fertilizer plants in Africa in 2020, including 87 processing plants, 15 organic plants, and 35 new facilities apart from the manufacturing plants. 
  • Malawi accounts for only two fertilizer processing plants, and 
  • Zambia has four, whereas 
  • Mozambique possesses five processing plants, with one being established in 2020. 
  • However, there are no fertilizer plants in Congo.

African Agrochemicals Market 

The African Agrochemicals Market is witnessing a transformation influenced by government efforts, population growth, and the push for food security.

Increased food production necessitates the use of agrochemicals such as fertilizers and pesticides to ensure sustainable agriculture in the face of changing climate conditions.

The fertilizer segment, essential for high crop yields, is expected to see substantial growth with the industry's move towards organic options aligning with sustainable development goals.

Due to the growing demand for food safety and quality, biopesticides are also gaining increasing popularity over their synthetic counterparts.

This comprehensive market analysis captures the essence of the African agrochemicals industry's current state and its trajectory in the coming years. Through detailed insight into market trends, product preferences, and consumer demands, stakeholders can better navigate the evolving agricultural landscape and the critical role of agrochemicals in ensuring food security for the continent's rapidly growing and urbanizing population.

Africa Agrochemicals Industry Overview

A selection of companies mentioned in this report includes

  • Bayer Crop Science 
  • AGSyngenta International AG
  • Adama Agricultural Solutions
  • FMC Corporation
  • Corteva Agrisciences
  • Yara International
  • UPL
  • Sumitomo Corporati
  • Nufarm
The African agrochemicals market is a fairly consolidated market, and the major players accounted for a significant share in 2022. In terms of market share, Sasol Limited, Yara International, Bayer, Syngenta, and BASF SE are some of the key players dominating the market. Companies like Bayer and Corteva have recently merged together, and they have invented new products for the crop protection segment. Bayer has made a partnership with companies like Kimetic and M2i Group. This partnership will bring a lot of developments in crop protection. Also, companies working in the field of crop protection, along with their R&D center, are continuously working hard to bring some innovative products that will contribute to the agrochemicals sector.

For more information about this report visit

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Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Resilient (rural-)urban food environments

The EU-funded FoodCLIC project seeks to engage 5 European and 3 African city-regions to act as FoodCLIC Broadening (replication) city-regions. Interested local/ regional governments (or government departments) and institutionalised groups, such as Food Policy Councils, are invited to apply by 15 March 2024 .

FoodCLIC Broadening city(-regions) will become part of an existing group of eight municipalities/ regions that are already engaging in the FoodCLIC project to create more resilient (rural-)urban food environments: Aarhus, Budapest, Berlin, Barcelona, Lisbon, Amsterdam, Lucca, and Brasov.

Is this of interest to you, or could it be relevant to your contacts at city level? Please do not hesitate to contact and find more information here:

Related: Expert discussions on urban agriculture

In November and December 2023, RUAF and the European Forum on Urban Agriculture (EFUA) hosted two expert meetings to promote learning exchange and cooperation with non-European countries. The first brought together representatives of five cities, strategically selected for their innovative UA policies, to share details of policy instruments to enable food growing. The second online expert meeting had a specific focus on multilevel governance to support UA, in different country contexts around the world.

Propelling Africa's blue economy forward.

BlueInvest Africa 2024

3 - 4 July 2024. Kenya, Kwale County. BlueInvest Africa 2024
BlueInvest Africa is an important business event, initiated by the European Commission in 2022.
The objective of BlueInvest Africa is to facilitate meetings between African entrepreneurs seeking financing and international investors scouting for opportunities, all centred around projects capable of propelling Africa's blue economy forward.

Pitchers' submission deadline extended to 2 February 2024


30 January 2024. European Parliament. Blue Economy. From Science to Policy and Regulatory solutions

The BlueBio ERA-NET Cofund , gathering 30 partners from 17 European countries, aspires to strengthen Europe’s position in the blue bioeconomy. By funding 49 projects, Bluebio Cofund aims to identify new approaches and improve existing ones for introducing biobased products and services to the market, thereby extracting value from the blue bioeconomy.

Building on the findings of the projects funded by the BlueBio Cofund partnership, this event highlighted the latest developments and potentials in the blue bioeconomy. It offered an opportunity to identify and discuss policy and regulatory solutions essential for fully unlocking the potential of Europe’s blue bioeconomy by making the aquaculture and fisheries value chains more circular.
It aimed at providing clear policy and regulatory recommendations on the following issues:
  1. Authorising algae as an ingredient
  2. Valorising aquaculture and fisheries side-streams
Policy brief # 5 p.

Short presentations of 3 projects funded by the BlueBio ERA-NET Cofund.

  • BlueBioChain : Microalgae to Assets: Identifying Regulatory and Social Hurdles in Turning Wastewater into Valuable Products, presented by Dr Panagiotis Kougias, Hellenic Agricultural Organization - Demeter Soil and Water Resources Institute, Project Coordinator 
  • Marigreen : Barriers in the valorization of BLUE residues for the production of fertilizers and biostimulants, presented by Dr Oana Cristina Parvulescu, University NUST Politehnica Bucharest, Project Coordinator 
  • AquaHealth: Investigation of bioactive compounds from microalgae microbiomes for sustainable health management in aquaculture, presented by Dr Kerstin Kuchta, Hamburg University of Technology


Italy-Africa Summit

On January 1, 2024, Italy assumed, for the seventh time, the Presidency of the G7: the group that brings together Italy, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America. The G7, in which the European Union also participates, is united by common values and principles and plays an invaluable role in defending freedom and democracy and addressing global challenges.

The Italian Presidency will last until December 31, 2024, and will feature a dense programme of technical meetings and institutional events throughout the country. The main event, the Leaders’ Summit, will be held on June 13-15 in Apulia.

The Italy-Africa Summit was the first international event to be held in Italy since the beginning of its G7 Presidency, attesting to the importance Italy attributes to its partnership with African Countries. This is, in fact, the first time that the Italy-Africa Conference is being held as a Summit of Heads of State and Government, having been held only at ministerial level until now. In attendance were numerous Heads of State and Government and Ministers of African Countries, together with representatives of the African Union and European Union. The main international organisations also participated, starting with the UN, international financial institutions and multilateral development banks.

The five pillars of the Mattei Plan - The plan is named after Enrico Mattei, an Italian public administrator who, in the 1950s, advocated for Italy to support North African governments grow their economies and develop their natural resources. Seventy years on, Meloni is showcasing the Mattei plan as the crown jewel of her foreign policy, aiming to once again renew Italy’s approach to the African continent.
  1. Education and training
  2. Agriculture: measures will aim to reduce malnutrition rates, foster the development of agri-food chains and support the development of non-fossil biofuels. In this context, it is deemed fundamental to develop family farming, preserve forest heritage and fight and adapt to climate change through integrated agriculture
  3. Health
  4. Energy: the strategic goal is to make Italy an energy hub, a real bridge between Europe and Africa. Measures will centre around the climate-energy nexus, focusing on boosting energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy, with actions aimed at speeding up the transition of electrical systems, in particular for electricity generation from renewable sources and transmission and distribution infrastructure. The plan also provides for the development of energy-related technologies in the countries themselves, also by setting up innovation centres, where Italian companies will be able to select local start-ups and thus support employment and the enhancement of human capital.
  5. Water: measures will regard the drilling of wells, powered by photovoltaic systems; maintenance of existing water points; investments in distribution networks; and, awareness-raising activities on the use of clean, drinkable water


The purpose of the conference was to present Italy’s strategic plan that aims to review the country’s approach to the African continent.

Italian premiere, Giorgia Meloni, unveiled a “non-predatory” approach aimed at fostering cooperation. Though critics argue that the plan, dubbed “Mattei Plan”, after Enrico Mattei, an Italian public administrator who, in the 1950s, advocated for Italy to support North African governments to grow their economies and develop their natural resources. Seventy years on, Meloni is showcasing the Mattei plan as the crown jewel of her foreign policy, aiming to once again renew Italy’s approach to the African continent. As things stand, however, the plan is far from comprehensive.

The plan is due to cost around 3 million euros a year and has a four-year duration. The goal is to enhance energy cooperation with African countries and help them in different areas including health, education, and other several other sectors, but its main purpose is to address the root economic causes of mass migration from Africa. Some critics have argued it lacks a clear strategy.
“We have all been waiting to find out more about the content of the plan. But as clarified by a government’s decree, the strategy will be outlined starting from this conference and in the weeks to come. We’d like the action plan to mainly focus on Africa’s needs and the needs of the states and the countries’civil societies. We’d also like to see the use of a “bottom up approach” meaning that nothing is being imposed from above. One positive aspect of the “Mattei plan” is its long-term vision – in other words we are not dealing with the single emergency like in the case of migrant arrivals but rather we are talking about a long term strategy,”
  Giampaolo Silvestri, Secretary General of the Fondazione AVSI.


Plenary session

  • President of the Council of Ministers, Giorgia Meloni 
  • Vice-President of the Council of Ministers and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Antonio Tajani 
  • Chairperson of the African Union, Azali Assoumani
  • Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat 
  • President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola 
  • President of the European Council, Charles Michel
  • President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen 
  • Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Amina Mohammed

"Today, only 2% of global investments in clean energy go to Africa. This is very sobering given Africa's immense potential as a clean energy powerhouse. Africa has the space, the wind, the sun, just to name a few. What it lacks is infrastructure. But together we can change this. With Global Gateway, we aim to bring clean energy to 100 million people who currently do not have access to energy. This can turn out as a double win. Africa can not only produce enough clean energy to power up the African continent but also to create revenues by exporting. Preparations have begun, for example, to build the first underwater electricity cable linking North Africa to Italy and the rest of Europe. And for example, our new Hydrogen Bank is now open to African producers. This means good jobs, energy and energy security for both Africa and Europe. (...) Over 50 Italian universities now have exchange programmes with their African counterparts. The University of Parma, for example, coordinates an Erasmus project to develop clean energy skills in Africa We want to invest in this kind of cooperation. Ursula von der Leyen 
  1. Session I: ECONOMIC AND INFRASTRUCTURAL COOPERATION Introduction speeches by: Vice-President of the Council of Ministers and Minister of Infrastructure and Transport, Matteo Salvini; Minister of Economy and Finance, Giancarlo Giorgetti; Minister of Enterprises and Made in Italy, Adolfo Urso 
  2. Session II: FOOD SECURITY Introduction speeches by: Vice-President of the Council of Ministers and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Antonio Tajani; Minister of Agriculture, Food Sovereignty and Forestry, Francesco Lollobrigida Participants' speeches 
  3. Session III: ENERGY SECURITY AND TRANSITION Introduction speech by: Minister of the Environment and Energy Security, Gilberto Pichetto Fratin Participants' speeches 
  4. Session IV: VOCATIONAL TRAINING AND CULTURE Introduction speeches by: Minister of Education and Merit, Giuseppe Valditara; Minister of University and Research, Anna Maria Bernini; Minister of Culture, Gennaro Sangiuliano Participants' speeches 
  5. Session V: MIGRATION MOBILITY AND SECURITY ISSUES Introduction speeches by: Minister of the Interior, Matteo Piantedosi; Minister of Defence, Guido Crosetto

[Note:  the GREATER project (Growing Rwanda Energy Awareness Through highER education)   funded in the ERASMUS+ European framework, under the 2022 Capacity Building for Higher Education (CBHE) call. 
  • Paolo Ciampolini (from the University of Parma) is currently the European Coordinator of in the framework of ERASMUS+/Capacity Building for Higher Education program. The project will be implemented under four Rwandan Institutions: INES-Ruhengeri, Rwanda Polytechnic, the University of Technology and Arts of Byumba (UTAB) and the University of Rwanda (UR). 
  • It will be also implemented under the European ones: University of Parma (Italy), National Research Council (Italy), Hochschule Niederrhein (Germany) and Hochshule Bonn Rhein-Sieg (Germany). See also: EU GREEN - Shaping our Alliance].  
While energy "may be the most relevant part" of the Mattei Plan, "Meloni is investing political capital in it mostly because of migration Giovanni Carbone, head of the Africa Programme at the Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI) in Milan. 

Further resources


Just before meeting with the Italian prime minister, Adesina AFDB gave a rousing speech to the General Assembly of the Association for the Development of Italian Companies in Africa, the Mediterranean and the Middle East—the Confindustria Assafrica & Mediterraneo.

The number of fintech startups has tripled, reaching 5,200 between 2020 and 2021 alone. It is projected that revenues of fintech companies could reach over $30 billion by 2025. Google and the International Finance Corporation estimate that Africa’s internet economy alone could reach $180 billion by 2025 and rise further to $712 billion by 2050.

The African Development Bank is investing $20 billion for the Desert-to-Power program, to build 10,000 megawatts of solar power across 11 countries in Africa and provide electricity for 250 million people.

To unlock this potential the African Development Bank has so far invested $12 billion in agriculture over the past 6 years. The Feed Africa Summit held in Dakar last year by the African Development Bank, Government of Senegal and the African Union, has also mobilized $72 billion for investments in unlocking Africa’s agricultural potential.

Africa and Europe are significant trading partners. Exports from Africa to the European Union totaled $203 billion in 2022, while imports from Europe into Africa was $174 billion. This is a significant advantage for Italian firms looking to do business in Africa. Foreign direct investment from Italy to Africa reached $30 billion in 2022. However, this represents only 5% of Italy’s total foreign direct investment globally.

WTO Trade Dialogue on Food - COP 28 and Food Trade

29 January 2024. The aim of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Trade Dialogues on Food is to create a conversation around the role of international trade in food security. 

The Trade Dialogues on Food invites experts from governments, non-governmental organizations, businesses, academia, think tanks and foundations, to debate the most topical issues in food trade. 
  • Each year the international trading system moves enough wheat, maize, rice and soybean to feed approximately three billion people around the globe. 
  • Meanwhile, over 200 million tons of fertilizer applied to farmland annually play a key role in helping us grow enough food to sustain our expanding population, with much of it traded on the international stage. 
  • Climate change will make international trade even more central to food security, acting as a vital conduit for food from food-surplus to food-deficit nations in the wake of natural calamities. 

The Trade Dialogues on Food are designed to shed greater light on the complexity of the food trade nexus, creating a safe space for public policy debate.
  • Danielle Nierenberg President , Foodtank 
  • Ackim Mwape Africa Programme Lead , The Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases 
  • Hoe Lim Director , Trade and Environment Division, World Trade Organization (WTO) 
  • Tatiana Campos Executive Director , International Fruit and Vegetable Juice Association 

    Tatiana referred to the Global Juice Sustainability Report 2023 # 36 p
The aim of this report is to serve as a repository of practical insights and real-world experiences that can be used by juice sector stakeholders to improve their sustainability initiatives and to collectively work towards a more sustainable and responsible future. 
The second edition of the juice industry report, serves as a valuable resource for monitoring progress and promoting successful practices in the industry. This report is part of an ongoing effort to enhance accessibility to effective sustainability strategies and best practices. The report is compiled by the members of the IFU and the Sustainability Working Group, who have shared examples of how various aspects related to sustainability are being addressed within the industry.
  • Joseph Glauber Senior Research Fellow, Markets, Trade and Institutions Unit, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
  • Moderator Doaa Abdel-Motaal Senior Counsellor, WTO Agriculture and Commodities Division

Building 21st Century Agricultural Research and Extension Systems in Africa

 24 January 2024. New Report Highlights Agricultural R&D Gaps in Sub-Saharan Africa and Action Items for National Governments, International Funders, and Research Institutions

Breakthrough Institute (2024) Building twenty-first century agricultural research and extension capacity in Africa # 46 p.

  • The study by the nonprofit Breakthrough Institute, based in California, notes that public agricultural R&D spending in sub-Saharan Africa continues to lag behind most of the rest of the world. At least 20 African governments spend so little on their national agricultural research and extension systems (NARES) that they are effectively defunct, according to the African Union (AU).
  • This report elaborates on research previously published by the authors in the European Review of Agricultural Economics (Jayne et al., 2023). Building twenty-first century agricultural research and extension capacity in Africa T S Jayne, Shamie Zingore, Amadou Ibra Niang, Cheryl Palm, Pedro Sanchez European Review of Agricultural Economics, Volume 50, Issue 5, December 2023, Pages 1824–1846, # 23 p.

This study 1) explains why improved performance of national agricultural research and extension systems (NARES) is required to achieve many widely shared development objectives of African governments and international partners, 2) examines the effectiveness of international efforts to build the capacities of African NARES, and 3) proposes actions to improve the performance of these systems.

Research on this topic has been impeded by the lack of data on the behaviors of, and interactions between, organizations operating in the agricultural research, development, and extension (R&D&E) space in developing countries. Most available quantitative data lack the depth or nuanced context specificity to shed light on complex institutional behavior. Hence, this study primarily derives its findings from in-depth interviews of individuals with longstanding direct experience working in African NARES and international organizations with a mandate to strengthen the capacities of African NARES. In addition to these, key informant (KI) interviews of 26 senior representatives of African and international agricultural R&D&E institutions and three international donor organizations, the study also draws upon available secondary data on national R&D expenditures and scientific capacity.

The study identifies seven recurrent themes emerging from the KI interviews: 
  1. building strong NARES will initially require a regional approach for many countries; 
  2. sustained commitment and funding from African governments is a precondition for building strong NARES and regional and continental agricultural R&D&E systems; 
  3. organizations within the international agricultural research system (IARS) often profess to be strengthening the capacities of the NARES, but their overall contribution has been limited
  4. the effectiveness of donor funding to the IARS depends on strengthening the NARES
  5. donors should confront the issue of creating organizations that duplicate activities of the NARES
  6. it is important to integrate nutritional objectives into NARES priorities;
  7. there is a need to recognize and strengthen the performance of tertiary education systems.

The study emphasizes the need to differentiate between individual and institutional capacity development. Most key informants concluded that donors and international partners have increased the number of professional African agricultural scientists while contributing relatively little to the institutional capacities of African NARES. Many of these scientists have joined the ranks of international research centers and universities rather than African NARES. Without institutional capacity development of the African NARES, international research centers will continue to draw talent away from the NARES.

Based on the weight of KI perspectives, the study concludes by proposing that African governments and African development organizations build a 21st-century NARES in which research is defined, prioritized, and implemented by NARES with the IARS being in service to the NARES. Achieving this vision will require action by actors including African development agencies and governments, leadership within the NARES, the CGIAR and other international research organizations, donors, and the private sector.

There is a wide consensus, both among the KIs interviewed for this study as well as in the existing literature, that the most crucial step to improving the performance of NARES is for national governments to increase their funding and commitment to supporting their own NARES, to monitor performance, and to demand greater accountability for results. The African Union and the African Development Bank must play the catalytic role in continental leadership and coordination, including seeking greater accountability and commitment from African governments themselves to build their NARES, and allocating sustained funding required to do so.

The African Development Bank can play a catalytic role to create a new regional architecture for agricultural research, organized by agro-ecological zones, to serve the immediate needs of African farmers while simultaneously building the capacities of NARES in countries where they are particularly weak. The African Union and African Development Bank must also work with international funding partners to ensure a reallocation of donor funding to prioritize institutional capacity development of African continental, regional, and national R&D&E organizations.

Public extension systems should enable bi-directional learning between research units and farmers to encourage adaptation in ways that fit farmers resources, and break down the divisions between R&D and extension systems to ensure that the advisory services received by farmers are founded on established research evidence.

International partners, including the CGIAR (formerly the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research) and international universities, must develop a greater appreciation of how their own effectiveness (e.g., impact generated per dollar of donor funds allocated) is dependent on the performance of local partners working on the ground, and prioritize efforts to collaborate with and build the capacities of these partners.

Finally, donors must ensure that grants related to African agricultural technical innovation 
  1. include organizations in the NARES at the design stage, 
  2. support nationally led priority-setting agendas, and
  3. ensure that the priorities of national governments are reflected in proposal and budget development. 
  4. Mandating that grants have co-directors from NARES organizations would encourage greater ownership and commitment of African organizations to achieving the objectives of the grant.
The institutional environmental movement remains exclusively focused on renewable energy as the primary source of energy for the global economy, despite the fact that four decades of enormous public investment in those technologies has barely moved the needle on the share of global energy produced by fossil fuels.
  • Insofar as the environmental movement has innovated, much of that innovation has been less than salutary. Indeed, serial failure has arguably been rewarded, as the movement now, by one recent estimate, raises and spends $8 billion annually, a figure that has roughly doubled in less than a decade. 
  • The Death of Environmentalism compared the environmental movement to engineering systems that are “stupid,” meaning that they lack any feedback system. But the last twenty years suggest an even more problematic feedback system, in which environmental institutions are in fact rewarded for failure.


Transcript (extract) presentation of Javier Mateo-Vega (@30:54):  We're working with Senegal, with Ethiopia and with Rwanda, where we are funding the NARS [National Agricultural Research System] to lead. We're not subcontracting to do work with us. We're funding them [the NARS] with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to lead research projects that are aligned to national needs and priorities that are helping to embed more sustainable capacities in the NARS partners and that are completely aligned to the priorities of the country. 


Building Resilience for Future Generations: The Need for Increased Investments in Public Agriculture Research (in the United States) 

27 February 2023. This is a recording of a briefing from The Breakthrough Institute, Carbon180, The US National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, and The Union of Concerned Scientists  on agriculture funding obstacles and opportunities.

Increased public funding for agricultural R&D has the potential to improve sustainability, lower food prices, strengthen US global competitiveness in sustainable markets, and improve farmer and rancher resilience. The upcoming 2023 Farm Bill marks an important legislative opportunity to increase investments in the US's agricultural research programs and agencies.

The event was hosted by Reps. Jimmy Panetta (CA-19) and Jim Baird (IN-04) and featured keynotes from Jayson Lusk (Distinguished Professor and Head of the Agricultural Economics Department, Purdue University), Betsey Boughton (Agroecology Program Director and Senior Research Biologist, Archbold Biological Station Buck Island Ranch), and Lindsay Klaunig (Trouvaille Farm).

Monday, January 29, 2024

Africa’s Resilience and the G20

9 January 2024Africa’s Resilience and the G20: Exploring Africa’s G20 Agenda

The South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) is an independent public policy think tank advancing a well governed, peaceful, economically sustainable and globally engaged Africa. This event showcased SAIIA and Centre for the Study of the Economies of Africa (CSEA)’s innovative work funded by the IDRC on strengthening the macro-economic resilience of Africa in the post-COVID-19 context. The project was co-implemented by four partner think tanks across the region – the Economic and Social Research Foundation (ESRF); Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment (ACODE); African School of Economics (ASE) and Initiative Prospective Agricole et Rurale (IPAR).

The event included presentations of the team’s research on the main drivers of resilience and vulnerability in Africa, new indices developed to inform policy responses that are socio-economically inclusive and climate friendly, as well as the lessons learnt from 12 country case studies on the impact and responses of Africa to key shocks from 2000-2022.

Opening Panel: Strengthening Africa’s Resilience - Exploring Africa’s G20 Agenda 

This session reflected on how the AU’s full admission to the G20 positions Africa to strengthen its voice and agency on the public goods and global governance agenda that require partnership and cooperation with other G20 members to help strengthen the continent’s resilience
  • HE Commissioner Albert Muchanga, Commissioner for Economic Development, Trade, Tourism, Industry and Minerals, AUC 
  • HE Minister Enoch Godongwana, South African Minister of Finance
  • Dr Ibrahim Mayaki, AU Special Envoy for Food Systems and Head: SAIIA International Advisory Board 
  • Moderator: Ms Elizabeth Sidiropoulos, Chief Executive, SAIIA 

Friday, January 26, 2024

Ensuring healthy diets from sustainable food systems

25 January 2024. Ensuring access to healthy diets from sustainable food systems for everyone: Exploring the realities, trade-offs, and hopes amid a changing world and climate"

  • Jessica Fanzo, Professor of Climate and Director of the Food for Humanity Initiative at the Columbia Climate School - Ensuring access to healthy diets from sustainable food systems for everyone: Exploring the realities, trade-offs, and hopes amid a changing world and climate

Prof. Fanzo discussed research on global food systems and security in the context of ever increasingly complex planetary and political threats and opportunities, and how this research informs global thinking, governance, and strategies toward enabling healthy and sustainable diets and nutrition for the future of humanity.

Check out this website to learn more about the Food Systems Countdown Initiative:

Africa Prosperity Dialogues: Unleashing Africa’s Food and Agribusiness Potential

25 - 27 January 2024. Africa Prosperity Dialogues held at Peduase Lodge in Accra

The theme, “Delivering Prosperity in Africa – Produce, Add Value, Trade,” set the stage for a collective effort to boost intra-Africa trade and build the world’s largest single market.

The Africa Prosperity Dialogues is being organised as an annual dedicated platform for Africa's leadership to engage, forge partnerships and commit to achieving the AU's agenda 2063 through integration with a vision of achieving an "Africa Beyond Aid". The Dialogues are inspired by the recognition that Africa's political and business leaders must work closely together to shape, drive, and deepen intra-Africa trade and investments to achieve sustainable prosperity across the continent through the speedy and full implementation of the AfCFTA.

The Africa Prosperity Network, a private and independent organization established in Ghana, serves as a continental network focused on advocating for the collective ownership of the African Union's Agenda 2063. Its mission centers on fostering enhanced private sector participation in the implementation of the AfCFTA, with a sense of urgency and determination.

DAY 01

Session I: Doing Business Differently – Adding Value to What we Produce

  • H.E Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo , the President of The Republic Of Ghana
  • H.E. MeneWamkele - Secretary-General, AfCFTA Secretariat: ‘"We must dare to invent the future as Thomas Sankara once said."
  • Brigitte Harington President and CEO IGIRE coffee
  • Charles Abani UN Resident Coordinator
    "With the right mindset and data, we can unleash great opportunity for businesses in Africa to thrive"
  • Mr Alex Dadey, Board Chairman (GIPC) & Executive Chairman (KGL Group
    “Incentivizing the private sector is the surest way to achieve sustainable growth.” 

Session 2: Unleashing Africa’s Food and Agribusiness Potential

Keynote speech: Dr Aggrey Agumya Executive Director FARA

The AUC-DARBE Commissioner, Ambassador Josefa Sacko has called for collaborative efforts to address Africa’s food security and boost agribusiness during the Africa Prosperity Dialogues held at Peduase Lodge in Accra. This according to her will help Africa in breaking from the chains of dependency and create a resilient and self-sustaining agricultural ecosystem.

In a speech read on her behalf by the Executive Director of FARA, Dr Aggrey Agumya at a high level panel on ‘Unleashing Africa’s Food and Agribusiness Potential’, Amb Sacko rallied various governments and private sector to support AU’s Common African Agro-Parks (CAAPs) initiative which aligns with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The initiative developed in collaboration with key partners such as AUDA-NEPAD, AfCFTA, AFREXIMBANK, and FARA, has gained momentum “with two Demonstration Projects set to commence this year— the Zambia-Zimbabwe CAAP for maize and dairy products, and the Cote d’Ivoire-Ghana CAAP for Cocoa transformation. These projects are the stepping stones to the establishment of the five large agro-industrial zones that will reshape the landscape of African agriculture,” she noted. 

She added that “CAAPs represents more than just a development initiative; they embody the resilience, determination, and collective will of the African continent to control its destiny. Our request for your full support and blessing is not just for the CAAPs but for a future where Africa leads in agriculture, agro-industrialization, and economic prosperity”. Assuring of its high success rate, Amb Sacko says stakeholders “can establish a vibrant business platform under the CAAPs, utilizing the instruments of the AfCFTA to secure our place in the global food market.” Therefore, “CAAPs are not just a roadmap; they are the vehicle for an agro-industrial revolution that Africa urgently needs. Let us pledge our commitment to this vision, supporting the CAAPs as the flagship program of the AU Agenda 2063”. 

The CAAPs represents a revolutionary step towards establishing five large common agro-industrial zones with transboundary mega agro-industries and food supply corridors, strategically positioned in each of the five geographical regions of Africa. The Executive Director of FARA, Dr Aggrey Agumya reiterated the role of FARA as the apex continental organization responsible for coordinating and advocating for agricultural research for development (AR4D) in Africa while serving as the technical arm of the Africa Union Commission on matters concerning agriculture science, technology and innovation.

Panel discussion: 
  • Eklou Somado Attiogbevi Regional Manager, Agriculture & Agro-Industry, West Africa AFDB
  • Barbara Tulu Clemens WFP
  • Dr. Brian Acheampong Minister of Food and Agriculture Ghana
  • Alex Arnaud Assanvo Executive Secretary Cote d'Ivoire -Ghana cocoa initiative
  • Patricia Poku Diaby CEO Plot Enterprises, Council member APN (African Prosperity Network)

    PLOT Enterprise (Ghana) Limited is a cocoa processing company based in Takoradi, Ghana.
    PLOT manufacture natural and alkalised cocoa liquor, natural cocoa butter, natural and alkalised cocoa cake and natural cocoa powder from Ghana Cocoa. PLOT is fully aware of quality and has worked diligently towards obtaining internationally recognised certificates among which FSSC 22000, OK Kosher, HALAL, ORGANIC, RAINFOREST. The facility is also Rainforest Alliance Approved.
    "There is an ever changing expectation: sustainability along the whole value chain"

    "There is an increase in local processing versus in the producing countries versus the processing in the consuming countries"

    "There is also an growth of consumption on consumption on the African continent, not so much in chocolate, although there is growth, but more in chocolate drinks and chocolate sprays and the likes of it."

    "Our sector (cocoa) has been one of the main foreign currency earners of the country"

Session III. Getting on the Global Value Chain of Africa’s Natural Resources.

  • Beatrice Mensah-Tayui - CEO, Cybele Energy Ltd
    "It is about excellence, rising to the top and going beyond duties"
  • Edward Nana Yaw Koranteng - CEO, Minerals Income Investment Fund, Ghana
    "We are looking at value addition in terms of capital market, in terms of processing"

    • Ebenezer Asante, Senior Vice President, Markets, MTNGroup,
    • “It’s about time that with the enablement of technology, we allow for the issue of sovereignty to break away...We must break the borders for African trade to thrive.” 

    Session V Critical Enablers for Single Market Success– Leveraging Infrastructure, Innovation and Technology.

    DAY 02

    Session V. Theme: Critical Enablers for Single Market Success– Leveraging Infrastructure, Innovation and Technology.

    • Moderator Gayheart Mensah - Board Member, APN 
    • Selorm Adadevoh - Group Chief Commercial Officer, MTN
    • Julius Mwale - Principal, Mwale Medical & Technology City (MMTC)
    • Prof. Khaled Dabees - CEO, AB-Care Medical Technology & Ultra Teb
    • Nompilo Morafo - Chief Sustainability &Corporate Affairs Officer, MTN Group
    • Angela Kyerematen - Jimoh-Strategic Partnership Lead for Africa, Microsoft
    • Alpha Ibrahim Sesay - Minister of Trade and Industry, Sierra Leone
    • Harkirit Singh - Group CEO, Ascend Digital Solutions Ltd

    Session VI: Critical Enablers for Single Market Success – Strategic Financing and Investment in Infrastructure 

    • Moderator Benjamin Offei-Addo-Head, Finance & Corporate Services Strategy, Asaase Broadcasting Company Ltd 
    • Dr. Sidi Ould Tah, President BADEA
    • Marufatu Abiola Bawuah -Regional CEO West Africa, UBA 
    • Kofi Adomakoh - Managing Director, GCB Bank
    • Gabriel Edgal Chairman Oakwood Green Africa
    • Olumide Ogunfowora, CFA - Founding Partner, Argentil Capital Partners 
    • Manfred Rene Awabeng - CEO, Premier Investment 
    • Gabriel Edgal - Chairman, Oakwood Green Africa 
    • Jean-Francois Le Bihan - General Manager of Ericsson Cote d'Ivoire

    Session VII. Theme: Scaling Up Mobile Interoperability to Deepen Financial Inclusion and Intra-African Trade.

    • Moderator Emily Mburu-Ndoria - Director, Trade in Services, Investment, Intellectual Property Rights and Digital Trade, AfCFTA, 
    • Ipeleng Selele - Group CEO, RRS Trade and Investment, South Africa 
    • Angela Wamola - Head, Sub-Saharan Africa, GSMA 
    • Patricia Obo-Nai - CEO, Vodafone Ghana
    • John Omo - Secretary General, African Telecommunications Union

    Session VIII Critical Enablers for Single Market Success through Manufacturing - Smart Market Access Strategies and Enabling Incentives.

    • Ambassador Amina Mohamed - Advisory Council Member, APN and Former Foreign Minister, Kenya 
    • Rosemary Beryl Archer - Deputy CEO, Ghana Export-Import Bank 
    • Linda Ampah - CEO, Cadling Fashions Ltd
    • Mohamed Ould Noueigued - President, National Bank of Mauritania 
    • Cherif Abdallah - Chairman, CONEX Group, Liberia & Sierra Leone 
    • Jeffrey J. O. Peprah - CEO, Volkswagen Ghana and President, Automotive Assemblers Association of Ghana (AAAG)
    • moderator Patrick Smith - Editor-in-Chief, Africa Report,
    • Mohamed M. Abou El Enein - Chairman and Founder, Cleopatra Group, Egypt 
    • Nora Bannerman - CEO, Sleek Garments Export Ltd

    Thursday, January 25, 2024

    CGIAR hosts Bill Gates and UN Food Agencies in Rome to further collaboration on Global Goals

    18 January 2024. Bill Gates, Co-chair and Board Member of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, joined a meeting of the world’s leading agricultural organizations in Rome last week to discuss the importance of coordination and cooperation in achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal on Hunger (SDG2).

    Hosted by CGIAR’s Executive Managing Director, Ismahane Elouafi, along with the Director General of the Alliance of Bioversity and CIAT, Juan Lucas Restrepo, guests included Qu Dongyu, Director-General of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO); Alvaro Lario, President of the International Fund of Agricultural Development (IFAD) and Cindy McCain, Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP). Moderating the session was Marcel Beukeboom, Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations Organisations.
    "The potential is greater than ever. for innovations aimed at those in need. There is a need to focus on the crops and needs of those living in the greatest poverty, particularly where helping out farmers is thought to be the highest priority to minimize the effects of climate change.” Mr. Gates
    “When humanity has faced its greatest challenges in the past — whether from famine or pandemic — collaboration and innovation provided solutions. Today’s challenges are so large and complex that no one organization or discipline can solve them alone. But I sincerely believe that the four multilateral organizations represented here today can — with the support of partners such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and governments of those represented around the table — go a long way towards solving the big challenges of our era: hunger, malnutrition, climate change.” 
    Dr. Elouafi

    Related: African Development Bank Group and research centres to transform African agriculture and improve food security

    25 January 2024. African Development Bank President Dr Akinwumi Adesina received Africa-based Directors General of CGIAR at the bank headquarters in Abidjan to forge ways of scaling up food and agricultural productivity on the continent. The African Development Bank Group and the Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centres (CGIAR) committed to strengthen their collaboration to increase food production and provide better nutrition for Africa's growing population.

    With 65% of global uncultivated arable land, the African Development Bank believes that the continent can feed itself and the rest of the world.

    The meeting was the first coordinated group visit by the four directors-general/regional directors and one deputy director general of CGIAR for Africa to a financing partner and came two days after Dr Adesina hosted a visit from United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken, during which the head of US diplomacy praised the bank for the exceptional efforts it is undertaking to help Africa feed itself and the rest of the world.

    The leaders focused on securing long-term financing for research activities and for CGIAR to enhance its effectiveness across the continent. They also discussed capacity building for country-based national agricultural research services partners, young scientists and extension workers, and private-sector seed growers to produce certified seeds.

    Related: The CGIAR Initiative on Climate Resilience (ClimBeR) 

    The CGIAR Initiative on Climate Resilience (ClimBeR) has been using simple but powerful business tools to generate the financing African governments need to take agriculture innovations to scale The project focuses on transformative adaptation in agricultural systems to address climate risk in six countries: Guatemala, Kenya, Morocco, the Philippines, Senegal, and Zambia.

    ClimBeR helps African governments access $30m earmarked for climate adaptation by leveraging climate-smart agriculture investment plans, identifying specific business models and projects that would help mitigate climate risk and promote adaptation within a country’s agricultural value chains.

    ClimBeR builds detailed investment cases and implementation plans for these projects, which can then be used to attract sustainable investment from both the public and private sectors. Such investment is crucial to expanding access to tools and technologies with the potential to make farmers more resilient to rising temperatures.
    • An example of one such project or investment is hermetic bags for long-term grain storage identified in the investment plan for Kenya, a simple business idea that, with further investment, would decrease post-harvest loss, provide a more stable food supply, and even help farmers leverage their stored grain to access finance. Creating an investment package for hermetic bags turns the idea into more than just a government project or humanitarian activity; it becomes a business that banks or private sector companies can invest in, which makes it more sustainable in the long run.
    • In partnership with Lend XS, ECLOF bank in Kenya and Agora Microfinance in Zambia, CGIAR is also developing a climate credit scoring tool, which aims to evaluate the climate hazards and adaptive capacity of farmers, both for the dairy sector and for the maize mixed systems. This allows financial institutions to better evaluate the risks of agricultural loans, ultimately giving better-adapted farmers more access to finance. Innovative financial tools like these should incentivise farmers to adopt climate-smart practices, while giving lenders the information they need to assess credit risk in a widely misunderstood sector.
    • 4 to 10 December 2023 Nurturing Agricultural Resilience: Crop Modelling and Climate Strategies Unveiled at Senegal Workshop Underpinning this collaborative effort is a tapestry of funding sources. The Flemish Government contributes through the ‘StratAdapt-Mali’ project, while two CGIAR project initiatives—AICCRA (Accelerating the Impact of Climate Research for Africa) and ClimBeR (Building Systemic Resilience Against Climate Variability and Extremes)—play a pivotal role in supporting the workshop.

    East African Business Council Webinar on Sustainable Agriculture Practices

    25 January 2024
    . Webinar series on Sustainable Agriculture Practices

    The East African Business Council (EABC), in collaboration with the Agency for Business and Economic Development(AWE) funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), is organizing a webinar series on Sustainable Agriculture Practices, in a bid to strengthen agricultural value chains and bolster the food security of Agri-actors in the East African Community (EAC) Region.


    • John Bosco Kalisa CEO EABC

    • Lydia Koch (picture), Business Scout for Development, GIZ Tanzania
      In behalf of Agency for Business and Economic Development (AWE)
      In her remarks, Lydia Koch, Private Sector Advisor at the Agency for Business and Economic Development (AWE), reiterated the commitment of Germany to work with the government and private sector to fight hunger and ensure food security across the globe amidst global crises and shocks.

    • Yarama Dakwa Ndirpaya Director, Plant Resources Department at Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria, Abuja; Technologies for African Agricultural transformation TAAT-IITA: Eastern Africa representative - Climate smart agricultural technologies

      "We had 24/01/24 a big meeting between the Islamic Development Bank, AFDB and TAAT"

      To scale agricultural technology across Africa, TAAT connects technology holders with decision-makers who can adopt and deliver technologies to the farmers and processors who need them.

    • Mr. Vishnu Reddy - IDH India Improving the income resilience of coffee farmers through blended service delivery, diversified farming systems

      IDH, The Sustainable Trade Initiative has been working in India since 2009 to promote sustainable value chains across sectors including cotton, tea, spices, grapes, palm and apparel, by bringing together government, companies and CSOs in action-driven coalitions to jointly set ambitious targets and formulate co-investment plans that unlock scaling of sustainable production & trade to deliver large scale impact on the Sustainable Development Goals.

    • Ms. Marianne Walpart Simusolar, Tanzania - Adaptation to climate change 

      Solar Irrigation Systems . Simusolar makes irrigation simple and effective with customized systems that require no fuel, with payment plans for affordability. We have been providing the services and equipment farmers need to be more productive and to be independent of rain patterns and rising fuel prices, since 2016.

    • Ms. Nandi Mkwanazi Nanloy organic farm South Africa - Transitioning to sustainable agriculture: Opportunities and challenges

      Nanloy organic farm is an Agri-start up that aims to combine innovation and indigenous African knowledge to produce high value organic fresh produce. By using regenerative farming techniques, Nanloy organic farm is creating social impact through sustainable food security solutions for our customers and clients.

    Agriculture plays a pivotal role in the East African Community (EAC), providing livelihoods to millions and serving as a key contributor to the regional economy. The East African Business Council is pleased to invite companies and agri-value chain players to register and profile their products and services on the online Business-to-Business directory of the East Africa Agro Investment Profiles & Directory enabling access to agro market & investment opportunities in East Africa. Visit:

    The East Africa Agro Investment Profiles & Directory is developed by EABC in partnership with the Agency for Business and Economic Development (AWE), funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), in a bid to strengthen trade and investment ties in agricultural value chains and bolster food security in the East African Community (EAC) Region.

    Register and profile your company, business, organization, products, and services in the B2B directory.

    Once registered you can hold B2B chat with other agri-value chain players registered in the B2B Directory. Registration is free of any charge.


    • Jan 29, 2024 Time 3pm WAT - West Africa Building Sustainable Agribusiness Models: Balancing Profitability and Environmental Impact.  
    • Jan 30, 2024 Time 5pm EAT - East Africa Building and Scaling Successful and Sustainable Agribusiness in East Africa. 
    • Jan 31, 2024 Time 4pm SAST - Southern Africa The Future of Food in Southern Africa: Unlocking Opportunities for Global Impact  
    • Feb 1, 2024 Time 4pm CAT - Central Africa Market Trends and Agri-Food Opportunities: Identifying Profitable Pathways for Growth. 
    • Feb 2, 2024 Time 4pm CAT - North Africa Driving Green Growth, Innovation and Sustainability in the North African Agribusiness Landscape.