Workshop on the promotion of agropoles and agro-processing zones in Africa

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From: 22/03/2016
To: 23/03/2016
Location: CCIA- AfDB Building – Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire

The Bank is hosting a two-day workshop to share experience and identify best practices in the design and implementation of agropoles and agro-processing zones in Africa and how they can deliver in fragile situations. The seminar will bring together a range of government and private sector representatives from more than 30 countries, and various development partners and researchers. The seminar will take place at the Bank’s premises in CCIA on 22 and 23 March 2016.

The event takes forward the Bank’s High 5s agenda, integrating the priorities around agriculture, industrialization and regional integration in a common framework of support that was defined at the Dakar High Level Conference for an African Agricultural Transformation Agenda in October 2015. Recognizing the importance of adopting innovative approaches, Ministers of Finance, Agriculture, Trade and Investment, Central Bank Governors, private sector and academic leaders called on the Bank to support the development of agro-allied industrial zones and corridors across the continent. The specificities of advancing this agenda in fragile situations became the subject of an AfDB publication on “Special Economic Zones in Fragile Situations – a useful policy tool?”, and two seminars with Professors Ola Smith and Osita Ogbu in November/December 2015.

Spatial growth strategies have been gaining increasing attention among policy makers and businesses across Africa to correct market and governance failures within and across industries. When implemented correctly, such an approach can lead to increased private sector investment directed to areas of excellence and higher productivity in select industries that, with proper linkages, will result in positive spill-overs to the broader economy and significant sustainable job growth. Spatial growth strategies include the establishment of growth poles, growth corridors, and special economic zones (SEZs). While these approaches share certain characteristics, their relevance and impact depend on the specific country and regional context.

Over two days, representatives of Regional Member Countries, global agribusiness companies, international development partners and researchers will share their experiences and plans for developing agropoles and scaling up agroprocessing across the continent. The event will consist of two parts: i) Policy level: A ministerial panel discussion and ii) Operational level: Learning and sharing sessions among practitioners.

The workshop takes into account the different stages in which countries are with regard to the design and implementation of agro-processing zones and agropoles. Through a tailored approach, the seminar is expected to achieve the following results: (i) a strategic framework is developed with the participants for the promotion of agro-processing zones in Africa; (ii) an operational action plan tailored to the country context is prepared, defining key actions to promote agropoles and agroprocessing zones; (iii) a network of agropoles and agroprocessing zones in Africa is established to facilitate the exchange and sharing of best practices and experiences.