Calls by leaders emphasised the need to prioritise efforts to accelerate agricultural transformation.
African leaders have pledged to recommit their efforts to boost agricultural production towards zero hunger.
The leaders, who included sitting and former heads of state and governments, as well as heads of private sector and multilateral organisations were hosted by H.E Hailemariam Dessalegn, former Prime Minister of Ethiopia and Chair of AGRA and the AGRF Partners Group during the President’s Summit at the AGRF 2021 Summit.
Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta, who chaired the session, urged African nations to work together to accelerate action and deliver on commitments to enhance the resilience of food systems. He called for joint efforts by leaders and stakeholders in the agricultural sector towards creating sustainable and resilient food systems in the continent.
“The call to accelerate actions and make commitments to deliver resilient food systems is urgent. We must identify immediate actions and steps that are required to fast track progress and recovery towards inclusive agricultural transformation,” President Kenyatta said, noting the disruption and pressure on Africa’s food system by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The session was also attended by, among others, Presidents H.E. Paul Kagame (Rwanda), H.E. Yoweri Museveni (Uganda), H.E. Lazarus Chakwera (Malawi), H.E. Hage Geingob (Namibia), UN Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed, and African Development Bank President Dr. Akinwumi Adesina.
H.E. Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda said: “We need a transformation in how our food systems are organised to address the hunger situation in Africa and to safeguard agribusinesses and livelihoods derived from the sector,” he said.
On his part, Dr Akinwumi Adesina said: “To fully unlock the potential of agriculture in Africa, we must raise productivity; ensure value chains are well developed; develop infrastructure; and boost private sector to produce healthy, nutritious & affordable food,” he said.
Also present were former heads of state and government, including: H.E. Olusegun Obasanjo (Nigeria); H.E. Jakaya Kikwete (Tanzania); H.E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (Liberia); H.E. John Kufuor (Ghana); H.E. Lionel Zinsou (Benin); and H.E. Ibrahim Mayaki (Niger).
During the session, President Kenyatta highlighted Kenya’s commitment to the food system transformation agenda noting ongoing actions towards achieving the country’s food security pillar under the nation’s Big 4 Agenda. He explained that Kenya is remodelling its food system harness the vibrant energy of its youth, thereby making it more inclusive, innovative collaborative and dynamic.
“Kenya is making tremendous efforts towards realization of the shared aspiration among nations of the world. Four critical pathways and priorities for Kenya’s food systems have been identified and these actions are: youth, digital innovation, diverse diets and climate change action,” Kenya’s President said.
During the President’s Summit, winners of the 2021 Africa Food Prize, as well as GoGettaz Agripreneur Prize and Women Agri-prenuers of the Year Award (WAYA) that recognise youth-led and women-led agribusinesses respectively, were announced.
The $50,000 grand prizes in the GoGettaz Agriprenuer Prize were won by Tracy Kimathi, founder of Tree_Sea.mals, in the female category; and Nshimiyimana Alexandre, co-founder of Sanit Wing Ltd in Rwanda in the male category. Recipients of the Impact Social and Environmental Awards for 2021, each with a cash prize of US$2,500are: Fily Keita, co-founder and CEO of Agrowomen in Mali; Diana Orembe, co-founder and CEO of NovFeed in Tanzania; Gabriel Eze, co-founder and COO of Rural Farmers Hub in Nigeria; and Costantine Edward, founder of AgriLife in Tanzania.
Dr Haja Salamatu Garba, founder and executive director of WOFAN Nigeria won the grand prize, while Beatrice Nkatha, founder and managing director of Sorghum Pioneer Agencies, Kenya was named first runners-up with Linda Kudakwashe Manyeza, the founding director of Food Masters South Africa emerging second runners-up.