The collective pledges at the AGRF are believed to represent the largest package of financial commitments to the African agricultural sector to date, backed by the broadest coalitions ever assembled in support of food production on the continent.
The commitments were made at the official opening of the sixth African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) that has attracted more than 1,500 influential figures from 40 countries for three days of brokering new agricultural initiatives.
While African agriculture has seen significant progress in the last ten years, the “Seize the Moment” campaign is a frank acknowledgment that much more is needed for African countries to achieve inclusive economic development—and ultimately realize the international community’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The goal: a new era of business opportunities for the 70 percent of the African population that depend on farming for food and income, yet too often face poverty and poor nutrition.
Joined by President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Kenya’s President, His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta, officially opened AGRF 2016 by laying out a bold vision for how agriculture transformation should play out in Kenya and across Africa. Committing himself to deliver on both the political and policy agenda, President Kenyatta announced his government will invest US $200 million so at least 150,000 young farmers and young agriculture entrepreneurs can gain access to markets, finance, and insurance.
Gayle Smith, Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), set the tone for the day with a call for investors and donors to be bold and do their part to achieve “A Food-Secure 2030”.
Other agriculture investors and development partners announcing new financial and policy commitments included: The African Development Bank, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) Group, OCP Africa, World Food Programme, Yara International ASA, and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). Additional new investments are expected at the three-day forum.
President Kenyatta, as Chair of the African Peer Review Mechanism concluded the ceremony by calling for a continental scorecard that will measure and track the commitments to agriculture transformation and ensure they translate into action.