Tunis, 30 September 2010 - The African Development Bank (AfDB) will participate in this year’s African AgriBusiness Forum in Kampala, Uganda, from 3 – 6 October 2010. Sponsored by several partners (AGRA, FAO, NOVUS, Stanbic Bank, IFDC, Rabobank, KPMG, Winrock, among others), the international platform will enable delegates to exchange views on best practices and contemporary issues pertaining to the sustainable development of Africa’s Agricultural and Agro Industrial Sectors.
The Forum aims at attracting new investments to Africa and creating new business partnerships.
Based on the theme: “Food Security: A Business Opportunity” the forum will showcase agribusiness initiatives and commercial projects from all over Africa. Participants will address key topics such as the role of the private sector in improving food access and increasing sustainable agricultural productivity, pre- and post-harvest interventions, financing agriculture including inputs and research as well as development, public private partnership and capacity building.
The development of Africa’s commercial agriculture requires innovation, financing, and increased access to inputs like higher-performing seed and fertilizer. Improving productivity, enhancing value-added processing, and increasing commercialization are key objectives of the AfDB’s 2010-2014 Agriculture Sector Strategy.
The forum will provide an opportunity to share information on the Bank’s current work programmes in the areas of rural infrastructure, technologies for post-harvest losses reduction and value addition as well as explore opportunities for public-private partnerships.
With agriculture continuing to be the mainstay for the majority of the continent’s population, exploiting the continent’s potential requires massive investments of a scale that is beyond the capacity of the public sector alone. Indeed private investors require large commercial land holdings to plough their investments, and access to global markets. While Africa needs to respond to opportunities in agriculture, the global food market also needs to support investment flows that would make it possible for the continent to realize its unexploited potential in this sector. For example, in 2009 alone, Africa spent US$ 22 billion on agricultural products.
High population growth, resurgence of strong economic growth and a growing African middle class are signals that the time is right to scale up agricultural and agro-industry investments on the continent.
Furthermore, agriculture’s current 20% contribution to GDP demonstrates a potential for the sector to generate economic dynamism, with substantial benefits for agro-industries in Africa. The improving business environment in Africa also augurs well for stronger public-private partnerships that could enhance the opportunities available to rural communities, which will make economic growth more inclusive, shared and sustained.