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The Bank Group hosted a joint organizing committee for the preparation of the High Level conference on Development of Agribusiness and Agro-industries (HLCD-3A) in Tunis from January 21-22, 2010.
The HLCD-3A is expected to hold from March 8-10, 2010, in Abuja, Nigeria, under the auspices of the African Union (AU).
The aim of the HLCD-3A is to convene African heads of state and governments, ministers and senior policy-makers, as well as senior representatives of financial institutions to consider and endorse specific recommendations to enhance the role of agribusiness and agro-industries in promoting food security, job creation and sustainable economic growth in Africa.
The conference will establish a programme framework to be endorsed by African governments for the development of agribusiness and agro-industries on the continent. Another expected outcome of the Abuja meeting is the definition and design of financing mechanisms through which the public and private sectors can mobilize resources for investment for the development of the sectors on the continent.
Thursday’s 21 January 2010 meeting focused on financial modalities, while Friday’s 22 January 2010 meeting focused on issues relating to the conference’s organization, including logistics, administrative and technical issues.
An Expert Group Meeting (EGM) was held at the UNIDO headquarters in Vienna to discuss the key constraints on the development of agribusiness and agro industries in Africa.
Asked what picture of the conference he would like to give to the continent, UNIDO Agribusiness Development Branch Director, Sergio Miranda-da-Cruz said: “We continue to think that, it is time now for Africa to generate growth, become competitive, and take charge of its own future”.
Agriculture, he added, “is one of the ways ordinary Africans can put food on their tables and earn money. Agribusiness and agro-industries can create wealth, new jobs on the continent and shrink poverty. Agricultural advancement can help producers and companies go beyond local markets and secure a niche in the globalized world, and sustainable growth”.
The meeting included experts invited in their individual capacity from all parts of Africa and with expertise on agribusiness and agro-industries development. A resource paper was then commissioned to provide a backdrop for discussions at the EGM. The paper explored key technical, economic and policy factors constraining agribusiness and agro-industry development on the continent.
It also presents the structure and governance mechanism for the proposed financial facility, as well as make specific propositions for consideration during the meeting, such as elements that will be prioritized for investment at the national, sub-regional and regional levels. A UNIDO/FAO stand on HLCD-3A was set up in Tripoli on June 27, 2009, to announce the event with posters and brochures.
The conference complements the Bank’s current efforts to develop a strategy for agribusiness and agro-industry promotion. It also offers an opportunity to the Bank to present itself as a leading partner in the implementation of innovative approaches for the promotion of agribusiness and agro-industries in Africa. Discussions during this preparatory meeting were coordinated by AfDB Manager, Dougou Keita.
AfDB experts and representatives from the agriculture department and private sector department, the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), the African Union Commission, United Nations Industrial Development Organization and the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the Nigerian government attended the meeting.