The African Union Business Council (AfBC) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) to boost agribusiness in Africa.
The President of the African Union Business Council, Dr Amany Asfour, in her address, explained that the partnership seeks to build the capacity of stakeholders in the agricultural sector with technology and an improved access to finance.
“While the private sector is investing in SMEs, women and youth, small-scale farmers, cooperatives, and young entrepreneurs, etc we need to see how we can build their capacity.”Dr Amany Asfour
To achieve this feat, FARA plays a role in harnessing science and technology to accelerate the growth of agriculture and agribusiness by providing “knowledge, education, scientific innovation, to our farmers,” she added.
The partnership was announced at the 8th Agricultural and Science Week held in Durban, South Africa.
The Monitoring and Evaluation Lead Specialist at FARA, Mr. Anselme Vodounhessi, explained that FARA will focus on “technical assitance [providing farmers with inputs, education, etc” and the AfBC will look at investment facilitation by linking the private sector to the stakeholders in the agribusiness.
Mr Anselme who doubles as the CAAPs Coordinator quizzed that when the private sector wants to construct “a processing plant to produce mango juice and you’re not getting the raw mango how will you grow?”
“So what we will be doing is to create an enabling environment [for SMEs, farmers, etc] where they will be able to produce quality foods. Enabling environment refers to the technology and access to finance.”Mr. Anselme Vodounhessi
Dr Asfour moreover, called on African governments to uphold their commitment “to have at least 1 per cent of their finances geared towards scientific and research technologies”. She further rallied them to be self-sufficient in foods and nutrition.
The AfBC serves as an independent private-sector institution of the African Union with a focus on boosting intra-African trade and the integration of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
A significant Step Towards the Fight Against Hunger and Poverty
The partnership between the AfBC and FARA is a significant step towards the fight against hunger and poverty in Africa as the two organizations can help to develop a more sustainable and resilient agricultural sector in Africa.
This memorandum of understanding is a great step towards boosting agribusiness on the continent. Agribusiness is an important area which governments around the continent must focus on.
Agribusiness contributes about 25 percent of Africa’s GDP and a staggering 70 percent of its employment.
The continent is a top producer of many of the world’s best-loved products, including cocoa from Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, vanilla from Madagascar, tea from Kenya, and fruits from South Africa.
Despite pockets of success, however, Africa’s agribusiness sector has hardly reached its full potential, with production struggling in some places to meet rising local and export demand or to compete efficiently in a global marketplace.
Africa needs large amounts of sustained investment – many billions of dollars annually and easier access to markets and the latest tools and techniques to bring its agribusiness sector into the 21st century and transform it into a net exporter of commodities.