Kigali Rwanda September 8, The Government of Rwanda launches the first virtual AGRF Summit Under “Feed the Cities, Grow the Continent – Leveraging Urban Food Markets to Achieve Sustainable Food Systems in Africa.” as a call to action to rethink our food systems to deliver resilient, better nourished, and more prosperous outcomes for all.
The launch event was officiated by Rwanda’s Prime Minister Dr Edouard Ngirente and was attended by high profile officials including H.E. Hailemariam Desalegn, Former Prime Minister of Ethiopia and Chair of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) the AGRF Partners Group, among others.
Speaking at the event, Prime Minister Ngirente thanked the AGRF Partners Group for choosing Rwanda as the long-term home of AGRF, Rwanda is committed to partner with them in the achievement of AGRF Strategic Vision.
Prime Minister Ngirente pointed that Africa’s population stands at 1,2 billion people and over 60% are below the age of 25. This young African population is a key factor to turn around the agriculture sector in Africa. However, African youths do not consider agriculture as a profitable opportunity for their livelihood.
“’We therefore need to keep on de-risking this sector so as to attract young people especially by leveraging digital tools tailored for agriculture transformation’’ Ngirente said
He noted that Africa is still facing a huge challenge of post-harvest losses The total quantitative food loss in sub-Saharan Africa is estimated at 100 million metric tons per year and this is huge
It is now imperative that we increase investments to improve and expand post-harvest handling facilities and technologies This will reduce losses along all production and supply
According to the recent OECD report, the pace of urbanization in Africa has changed significantly and its urbanization rate will continue to grow among the fastest of the world regions in the coming years.
In her remarks, at the opening of the summit, Rwanda’s Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources, Hon. Dr. Gérardine Mukeshimana indicated that this year’s AGRF Summit is one of the key moments defining the current and more importantly the Africa’s future.
“This year’s AGRF theme Feed the Cities, Grow the Continent: Leveraging Urban Food Markets to Achieve Sustainable Food Systems in Africa speaks to all of us. Feeding the cities is increasingly becoming a fundamental question but we barely take time to think about it. I am glad that AGRF partners saw this as in important topic to be discussed this year.” She added
Haileariam Dessalegn Former Prime Minister of Ethiopian and chair of the AGRF Partners Group emphasizes the role of African countries in building sustainable agricultural investment
“Ethiopian has faced food shortages in the past 10 years, which has resulted in a large number of people dying each year due to lack of food, this has given us a strong lesson in nation building and investing heavily in agriculture” He said
He added that Ethiopia deserves a great lesson from African countries in transforming history and building a sustainable agricultural economy.
The 2020 AGRF Summit comes at an unprecedented time when African major cities especially those that mainly rely on imported food face a looming hunger crisis following implementation of lockdowns in several countries to contain the spread of Covid-19.
It also comes at a time when Africa is meeting several other challenges that include climate change, malnutrition, poverty, and emergence of pests such as desert locusts and fall armyworms
“We need food systems that are equitable, sustainable, resilient, and capable of meeting the global challenges of malnutrition, poverty and climate change as well as be responsive to emerging and unforeseen challenges – such as those posed by the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Agnes Kalibata, President of AGRA and Special Envoy to the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit.
“We must not relent in our effort to transform food systems for the benefit of everyone,” she remarked.
The AGRF 2020 Summit brings together about ten thousand people worldwide and 100 others gathered at the Kigali convention center to discuss how African countries can feed cities, grow the continent - use urban food markets to achieve a sustainable food system in Africa.”
The AGRF is the world's premier forum for African agriculture, bringing together stakeholders in the agricultural landscape to take practical actions and share lessons that will move African agriculture forward.
AGRF has been holding meetings in various countries for 10 years to think about the future development of African agriculture.
The AGRF's first meeting was held in Ghana Accra in 2010, Tanzania 2012, Mozambique 2013 Ethiopia 2014, Zambia 2015 Kenya 2016, Ivory Coast 2017, Rwanda 2018, Ghana 2019, Rwanda 2020 and the next 4 years.