IICA to strengthen ties with Africa on innovation, trade and food security in Rwanda

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The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) will take a new step in its newly developed work agenda with Africa, during the visit to Rwanda this week by its Director General, Manuel Otero, who will participate in the AGRF Summit, the main African forum to advance the food and agriculture agenda of this continent, which will hold its 12th Annual Summit under the theme “Grow, Nourish, Reward – Bold Actions for Resilient Food Systems”.

In Kigali, the Rwandan capital, Otero will participate, among other activities, in a plenary meeting with ministers and secretaries of Agriculture of Africa together with Indar Weir, the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security of Barbados, and will give a presentation at the discussion panel “South-South Cooperation: Leadership from the Americas and Asia”. He will share this panel with Agnes Kalibata, president of AGRA, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa.

“We are making progress towards deepening the IICA-AGRA relationship and for this reason we are strengthening South-South Cooperation initiatives given the relevance of the African continent and the many opportunities it offers for the agriculture sector in the Americas. At the table that Otero will share with Kalibata in Rwanda, experiences, lessons and ambitions will be presented with a view to promoting development, for which cooperation is paramount”, said Jorge Werthein, Special Advisor to the Director General of IICA.

The panel will be moderated by Juan Lucas Restrepo, General Director of the Alliance between Bioversity International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT). Other participants include, in addition to Mr. Werthein, Jean Jacques Muhinda, AGRA Regional Head for East Africa; Shenggen Fan, Professor at the China Agricultural University; Godfrey Bahiigwa, Director of Agriculture and Rural Development of the African Union Commission; and the Ministers of Agriculture of Mozambique and Togo.

In addition, various ministers of agriculture from the Americas and officials from Israel and Pakistan will participate virtually, as well as representatives from various Asian organizations.

Otero will also take part in an event organized by the Food Action Alliance, a global coalition of partners that promotes the transformation of agrifood systems, in which he will share the discussion panel with the Executive Director of the organization, Adam Gerstenmier; the Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources of Rwanda, Gerardine Mukeshimana; the president-elect of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Alvaro Lario; Ben Valk, Global Head of Alliances in Food and Agriculture at Rabobank; Martin Bwalya, Head of Centers of Excellence of the African Union Development Agency-New Partnership for Africa’s Development (AUDA-NEPAD); and the Executive Director of the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture, Simon Winter.

IICA, together with AGRA -which works to transform African agriculture from a subsistence model to one of solid businesses that improve the livelihoods of farming households- and the African Union Development Agency-New Partnership for Africa’s Development (AUDA-NEPAD) organized the recent “Africa-Americas Ministerial Summit on Agrifood Systems”, which was held in Costa Rica to strengthen bi-regional cooperation, face the challenges of food security and strengthen the role of both continents in productive matters at times where overlapping crises -health, environment and war- pose threats to world food security.

The Africa-Americas Ministerial Summit launched an appeal for the creation of permanent integration and collaboration mechanisms between the two continents to improve their agrifood systems, a path that IICA, AGRA and other organizations from both continents are beginning to follow.

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