There was a blockbuster moment for African agriculture on Wednesday when African leaders, businesses and major development partners pledged more than $30 billion (R417 billion) in investments to increase production, income and employment for smallholder farmers and African agriculture businesses over the next 10 years.
The collective pledges at the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) are believed to represent the largest package of financial commitments to the African agricultural sector to date, backed by the broadest coalitions yet assembled in support of food production on the continent.
The commitments were made at the official opening of the sixth AGRF, which attracted more than 1 500 delegates from 40 countries for three days of brokering new agricultural initiatives.
The investments represent just the first wave of support for the new “Seize the Moment” campaign, one backed by the African Union Commission, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, the African Development Bank, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, key NGOs, companies and donor countries.
While African agriculture has seen significant progress in the last 10 years, much more is needed for African countries to achieve inclusive economic development – and ultimately realise the international community’s Sustainable Development Goals.
The campaign is a decisive push for the political, policy, and financial commitments essential to transforming Africa’s agricultural sector. The goal: a new era of business opportunities for the 70% of the African population that depend on farming for food and income, yet too often face poverty and poor nutrition.
Investors included the government of Kenya; the United States Agency for International Development; the African Development Bank; Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; The Rockefeller Foundation; Kenya Commercial Bank; OCP Africa; World Food Programme; Yara International ASA and the International Fund for Agricultural Development.
Additional new investments are expected.