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The African Center for Economic Transformation (ACET) provided key inputs to the African Development Bank’s (AfDB’s) first high-level convening, Leadership4Agriculture (L4Ag) Forum, on November 28 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.

The invitation-only L4Ag Forum, supported by the Rockefeller Foundation, in collaboration with the Initiative for Global Development (IGD) and Grow Africa, was held at the AfDB headquarters in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, as a pre-event to the AU-EU Summit from November 29-30.

The action-oriented forum assembled influential leaders — African high-level officials, private sector leaders and community champions — for dialogue, advocacy and policy action to drive Africa’s agricultural transformation on the theme, “Leadership for Agriculture: Moving African Policy to Action”.

Africa’s agriculture sector and agribusiness are projected to create a US$1 trillion industry in the next decade. Despite this tremendous potential, total investment in the sector falls short of the levels required to deliver fundamental change to fuel agricultural transformation.

The African Development Bank estimates that between US$315-400 billion over the next ten years is required to transform strategic agricultural value chains.

“Recognizing agriculture as a business is a core aspect of the strategy to advance growth in Africa,” said IGD President Dr. Mima S. Nedelcovych. She added, “the Leadership4Agriculture Forum is an opportunity for private sector leaders and high-level African officials to strengthen their partnership by identifying their aligning interests so that Africa’s agricultural sector can reach its full potential.”

Guided by recent findings from the World Bank’s 2017 Enabling the Business of Agriculture Report and the 2017 Africa Transformation Report by African Center for Economic Transformation (ACET), the L4Ag Forum focused on harnessing agriculture and agribusiness as an engine of economic transformation in Africa. The expected outcomes of the Forum were:

  • Agriculture and agribusiness champions drive action on growing the agribusiness sector in Africa;
  • Government leaders seek support for policy reforms to drive agribusiness growth in their countries;
  • Private sector leaders gain potential agribusiness investment opportunities; and
  • Partners can identify agribusiness investment opportunities

The L4Ag Forum featured a keynote address and two panel sessions with African Finance and Agriculture Ministers and business leaders from across the African continent. The first panel, “Enabling the Business of Agriculture: Increasing Access to Agricultural Inputs to Enhance Productivity and Regulatory Reforms”, focused on improving commercial access to seeds, fertilizer, and mechanization.

ACET’s Chief Economist, Yaw Ansu, participated in the second panel, “Agriculture Powering Africa’s Economic Transformation: Fueling Agro-industry and Agribusiness”, which drew attention to commercializing agriculture, adding value and spurring agro-industry, and innovative financing.

Grow Africa Executive Director William Asiko made a presentation on applying the panelists’ key points and create actionable steps in achieving policy reforms.

During the Action Roundtable sessions, African high-level government officials and business leaders had an opportunity to re-imagine government and business engagement, brainstorm achievable goals around a specific agribusiness sector growth policy, and explore investment opportunities in agribusiness ventures.

For more information and for the full agenda on the L4Ag Forum, please click here

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