President Paul Kagame has called for concerted efforts to transform food systems on the African continent to ensure equitable food sufficiency.
Kagame made the call on Wednesday 8th September 2021 at the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF 2021) held in Kenya from 7th to 10th September 2021.
The summit brought together leaders from around Africa including heads of state, experts, members of the private sector, civil society organizations and farmers.
The AGRF2021 summit seeks to leverage the UN Food System Summit (UNFSS) momentum to elevate the single coordinated African voice in identifying immediate actions for accelerating progress, partnerships, and recovery towards an inclusive agricultural transformation.
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As he participated in a high-level panel discussion, Kagame highlighted that improving agriculture systems takes center stage to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“Food systems are key to achieving the SDGs. 70% of the African adults work in agriculture and agribusiness. If they are not doing well, then Africa is not doing well,” he said.
“More than 35% of the world’s hungry, are in Africa. Clearly, we need transformation in how our food systems are organized. We must also ensure that everyone has access to the food they need, on an equitable and affordable basis,” added Kagame.
The President said that African continent is capable of growing more than what it consumes and stressed the need to tap into advantages of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) ‘to trade the produce with one another’.
A World Bank report released in December 2019 on the AfCFTA showed that the common market would benefit the African continent in different ways.
The African Continental Free Trade Agreement which was signed by 44 African countries on March 21st, 2018 in Kigali shows that a single market for goods and services across Africa will lead to poverty reduction. At least 30 million Africans (1.5% of Africans) will rise above the poverty line.
The report shows that 12 million people in West Africa, 9.3 million in Central Africa and 4.8 million in East Africa will rise above the poverty line. The AfCFTA has the potential of lifting 67.9 million Africans (3.6% of Africans) to middle income status by 2035. That is a $5.50 income per day.
The AfCFTA will connect 1.3 billion African citizens from 54 countries and is expected to generate $3.4 trillion annually. This trade bloc will improve Intra-African trade and definitely solve the problem of food import in Africa.
Held for the 11th time, the forum was also attended by the President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta; Dr. Agnes Kalibata, the president of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and Hailemariam Desalegn, the Chairman of AGRF.