Rwanda to host virtual African Green Revolution Forum summit

L-R Former Prime Minster of Ethiopia and Chairman of AGRA, Hailemariam Desalegn Boshe, Prime Minister Édouard Ngirente, Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources,Geraldine Mukeshimana during Africa Green Forum last year. / File

Rwanda will host the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) Summit virtually from September 8 to 11, 2020 to avoid spread of the novel coronavirus, according to a statement from the event organisers.

The Summit due in September this year is the 10th edition of the AGRF, and the first of such events to be held online.

 

AGRF is considered the most diverse and multi-dimensional forum on African agricultural transformation that intends to advance the continent's agricultural agenda.

 

The AGRF Summit brings together over 2,000 delegates from governments, civil society, private sector, research community and development partners, and will be held, under the theme “Feed the Cities, Grow the Continent – Leveraging Urban Food Markets to Achieve Sustainable Food Systems in Africa.”

 

Feeding the hungry and Cities

Organisers argued that the theme of the summit is a call to action to rethink African countries’ food systems to deliver resilient, better nourished, and more prosperous outcomes for all. 

Among 821 million hungry people in the world, 256.1 million are located in Africa, representing 20 percent of its population; indicates the 2019 State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

According to the UN food and agriculture agency, more than half of the Sub Saharan Africa (SSA) population could be living in urban areas by 2050 posing huge challenges for poor towns and cities, which already face challenges such as poverty and inequalities.

With cities at the centre of the continent’s civilisation, the organisers said, it will become increasingly critical for food to be centrally reflected in the planning of urban areas. According to the World Bank, urban areas in Africa comprise 472 million people, a number that is likely going to double in the next two decades.

To discuss these issues, high-level dignitaries, including current and former Heads of State and Government; Agriculture and Finance Ministers; Central Bank Governors; top and emerging industry leaders from the private sector; lead representatives of farmer organisations; eminent leaders of global and regional development institutions; and key non-governmental implementing partners have been invited to the virtual summit.

In order to make it interactive, registered delegates will be able to pose questions to speakers via integrated chat functions, as well as via social media, using the conference hashtag (#AGRF2020; and #FeedTheCities).

Gerardine Mukeshimana, Rwanda’s Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources said "Rwanda looks forward to hosting this virtual gathering, just as much as we will welcome delegates to Kigali, the AGRF home, in future years.” 

“Rwanda knows how to build and adapt.  We will be driving an agenda of food systems that works for inter African trade, our cities and our rural communities at AGRF. Building the right food systems for Africa will improve the lives of millions," Minister Mukeshimana observed.

The 2020 AGRF Summit comes at an unprecedented time when African major cities especially those that mainly rely on imported food face a looming hunger crisis following implementation of lockdowns in several countries to contain the spread of Covid-19. 

It also comes at a time when Africa is meeting several other challenges that include climate change, malnutrition, poverty,  and emergence of pests such as desert locusts and fall armyworms.

“We need food systems that are equitable, sustainable, resilient, and capable of meeting the global challenges of malnutrition, poverty and climate change as well as be responsive to emerging and unforeseen challenges – such as those posed by the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Agnes Kalibata, President of AGRA and Special Envoy to the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit.

“We must not relent in our effort to transform food systems for the benefit of everyone,” she remarked.

The AGRF Summit will inspire and call for the adoption of concrete action and commitments from governments, the private sector, farmers and processors, and other stakeholders in the agriculture and food systems sector.

entirenganya@newtimesrwanda.com

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