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AfDB Attends African Green Revolution Forum
The African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) was officially opened on Thursday, 2 September 2010 in Accra, Ghana. The three-day forum, which is being held for the first time in Africa, is chaired by former UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan.
More than 800 delegates are scheduled to participate in the Forum, making it one of the continent’s major gathering of public and private players focusing solely on agriculture development.
Speaking at a press conference, the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group’s Agriculture Director, Aly Abou-Sabaa, emphasized the importance of the event, as it “brings the main actors under one roof, fuels fruitful discussions and encourages partnerships”.
He explained that in order to prepare the way towards a Green Revolution in Africa, the environment surrounding the agricultural sector needed to be improved through actions such as “closing the infrastructure gap, improving inadequate irrigation facilities and reducing high transportation costs”.
He cited efforts by the AfDB to enhance water storage and water management in African countries, stressing the importance of building partnerships with other institutions in order to take advantage of synergies. Agricultural development, he said, needed more than a focus on seeds and fertilizer, stressing that this also required strong efforts developing infrastructure. He drew attention to various initiatives spearheaded by the Bank such as the reduction of post-harvest losses and the hosting of the Africa Fertilizer Financing Mechanism by the Bank.
The event was opened by Mr Annan along with Ghana’s Vice President, John Dramani Mahama, the Yara International CEO, Jørgen Ole Haslestad, and Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Chief Executive.
Participants at the Accra Forum that were inspired by an appeal by Mr. Annan in 2004 for agricultural transformation in Africa included ministers, international donors, farmers and civil society representatives.
“This is the time to scale-up progress to achieve a uniquely African Green Revolution,” Mr. Annan said. He explained that with a lower critical infrastructure density than Asia had in the 1960s, Africa needed massive investments.
Although 19 countries have plans to accelerate their annual agricultural growth by six percent a year, experts estimate that Africa will need between US$32 and US$39 billion annually to enable its farm sector achieve its full economic potential.
The meeting, which ended on Saturday, included a combination of plenary sessions and smaller private meetings and provided opportunities to make new, firm commitments to deliver a better food production system and a better world for Africans.
By bringing together African heads of state, ministers, farming experts, private agribusiness firms, financial institutions, NGOs, civil society representatives and scientists to an Africa-led forum, AGRF manifested that it focused on promoting investments and policy support for driving agricultural productivity and income growth for African farmers in an environmentally sustainable way.
The AGRF gathered momentum during three successful African Green Revolution Conferences in Oslo, Norway.