Godwill Arthur-Mensah, GNA
Accra, Sept. 6, GNA - The 2019 African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) hosted by Ghana and the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa and other partners, ended on Friday with the commitment to promote digital technology towards sustainable agriculture to ensure food security in Africa.
Madam Reeta Roy, the President of Mastercard Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation, promised a US$500 million initiative to support young African entrepreneurs to find meaningful employment in the agricultural sector.
The World Bank recently pledged US$50 billion dollars to transform the African digital economy and advance agriculture through skill development, creation of digital platforms, advancing financial services to smallholder farmers and promoting entrepreneurship on the Continent.
Addressing participants at the closing ceremony in Accra, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Ghana’s Minister of Food and Agriculture, said the participants engaged in rigorous discussions on how to use digital technology to make farming in Africa more productive, sustainable, inclusive and profitable.
Dr Akoto, who read the communiqué issued at the end of summit, said digital technology has the ability to improve and implement all agriculture priorities to create decent jobs, wealth, alleviate poverty and ensure food security on the Continent.
The participants therefore called for biennial review to be uses as a tool to support countries in the prioritisation of grey areas that could enhance agriculture transformation and track their resource commitments, actions and performance, use evidence-based solutions for identifying, designing and implementing policy and innovative solutions and implement policies that promote digital solutions to support the management and monitoring of key priority actions.
Other commitments made by the various partners include, the need for continued efforts to advancing performance at the country level to deliver on nutrition and targets set in the Malabo Declaration and drive agriculture investment plans with more vigour, through policy priority actions and pursue comprehensive programmes, in line with national investment plans.
Some donor partners and philanthropists also made various commitments to support smallholder farmers in Africa with new crop varieties that could withstand climate change and improve food security as well as enhance the livelihoods of many Africans.
The AGRF is the world’s premier forum for African agriculture, pulling together stakeholders in the agricultural landscape to discuss and commit policies, programmes and investments to achieve an inclusive and sustainable agricultural transformation across the African Continent.
The forum attracted some 2,800 delegates from 79 countries in Africa and across the globe, including African leaders like the Nigerien President, Mahamadou Issoufou, the Vice President of Nigeria, Yemi Osingbjo, the Prime Minister of Rwanda, Edward Ngirente, former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and former Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn.
Also in attendance were 28 African Ministers of Agriculture, Central Bank Governors, captains of industry, development partners, representatives of farmer organizations, youth entrepreneurs and other critical stakeholders.
The four-day event (September 3-6) was held on the theme: “Grow Digital: Leveraging Digital Transformation to Drive Sustainable Food Systems in Africa”.
It focuses on three areas- leveraging on the digital technology to leapfrog Africa’s agricultural sector into the future, empowering private sector and SMEs and tackling challenges with the climate change.
The East African nation of Rwanda was named as the host for next year’s summit.
Dr Agnes Kalibata, President of the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa and AGRF Secretariat, underscored the need for African governments to invest in digital technology and improve education to smallholder farmers on the use of the technology to enhance productivity and profitability.
This year’s forum brought a new flavour into the discussions with the creation of a Deal Room, where agripreneurs, entrepreneurs, farmer organisations and donor partners negotiated new deals, to advance digital technology in their operations towards the realisation of the African green revolution agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.