Agriculture forms a significant portion of the economies of most African countries. It employs 65% of the labour force and contributes 32% of GDP1. Despite its significance, agriculture faces a number of challenges. In many African countries, food crops are produced on small-sized farms with limited technology, leading to poor yields. Fragmented markets, price controls and poor infrastructure also hamper production. The result is falling food production, poverty and a decline in economic growth.
To reduce poverty and hunger, the agricultural sector must be reformed. This will create more jobs for the youth and contribute to overall economic growth.
Towards this end, the African Center for economic Transformation (ACET) seeks to promote economic growth and transformation through the Pan-African Coalition for Transformation (PACT). The Coalition (or PACT) was launched during a maiden African Transformation Forum (ATF) conference organised by ACET in Kigali in March.
PACT focuses on agricultural transformation as one of its eight thematic chapters on transformation. The eight themes are Agriculture, Financial Inclusion, Energy, Extractives, Manufacturing, Resource Mobilization, Youth and Skills, and Regional Integration and Trade Facilitation.
ACET presented the modalities for PACT’s Agricultural Chapter to 70 key stakeholders at a dinner in Nairobi, Kenya, on 19 July 2016. The dinner, held on the sidelines of the 14th UN Conference on Trade and Development meeting (UNCTAD 14), provided a platform for detailed exchange about what Chapter members should do. The UNCTAD 14 side event also allowed members to engage with Kenya’s Ministry of Agriculture, which has been nominated for the role of Champion for the chapter.
The PACT meeting also engaged the Kenya Agribusiness and Agroindustry Alliance (KAAA), which has been proposed to act as the country secretariat to the PACT Agriculture Chapter. KAAA Chief Executive Officer, Lucy Muchoki, endorsed the PACT mission and asked ACET to commit to using the upcoming Sixth Tokyo International Conference of Africa’s Development (TICAD VI) as an opportunity to kickstart the process of launching the Chapter.
TICAD VI, to be held in Nairobi in August, will be the first time that the TICAD Summit is held in Africa since its inception in 1993.
The PACT dinner attracted 70 participants, including directors from the Kenya Ministry of Agriculture, together with actors from the private sector, research and academic institutions, donors and other partners.
The ACET team was represented by ATF Director Ms. Buddy Buruku, Chief Economist Dr. Yaw Ansu, and Senior Research and Policy Advisor Dr. Julius Gatune.