The African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) 2019 will take place on 3rd-6th September. This forum takes place annually and brings together stakeholders to discuss agriculture in Africa, its development and potential. This is an important forum because policy implementers are usually in attendance. Agriculture is the backbone of Africa’s economy, and AGRF provides the leaders a platform to discuss ways to use agriculture to encourage further growth and prosperity. This forum was first held in 2010.
This year, the AGRF will be held in Accra, Ghana. This is the second time Ghana will host this forum. It hosted the first forum in 2010. The theme of the first forum was “Investing in Africa’s Agriculture”. This was the foundation of this forums, and since then, the subsequent meetings have built on this foundation. Countries that have hosted this event include Kenya, Ivory Coast, Zambia, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Kigali.
The theme of 2019 AGRF
“Grow Digital: Leveraging digital transformation to drive sustainable food systems in Africa.”
Africa has endeavored to mechanize and digitize agriculture. For the past two decades, this forum has lead efforts to a sustainable African economy. The 2018 conference focused on the ways to convert small scale farmers into the future of agribusiness. One way of doing that is through digital transformation. The 2019 forum is focusing on the rapid growth of agribusiness through digital innovations. Between 2000 and 2014, Africa’s economy grew by 35%. Poverty levels also fell considerably. In 1990, 54% of the population lived on less than $2 a day. In 2013, this number dropped to 41%. With the right approach, agriculture will grow leading to food security and further reduction in poverty levels.
During this four-day forum, over 300 international speakers are expected. They include Heads of States, Government officials, and people involved in agribusiness. Some of the main speakers include;
- Dr. Agnes M. Kalibata – President of Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)
Before joining AGRA, Dr. Kalibata was Rwanda’s Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources. During her tenure, she was considered one of the most productive Agriculture Ministers in sub-Saharan Africa. Before this, she played a critical role in the development of the agriculture sector in Rwanda. She currently sits on several boards including the International Fertilizer Development Corporation (IFDC), and Biodiversity International Africa Risk Capacity. She is also a member of the Global Agenda Council of World Economic Forum.
- Strive Masiyiwa – Founder and Executive Chairman Econet Group.
He is also a Board Chair of AGRA. Econet Group is a Pan-African telecommunications company that has investments and operations in over 20 countries. Strive Masiyiwa is a philanthropist driven to see a productive and successful Africa. He has invested heavily in the education of over 40,000 African orphans and believes this is the key to sustainable development in this continent. He also mentors the young people on entrepreneurship and financial independence.
- Dr. Rajiv J. Shah – President of the Rockefeller Foundation
He served as a USAID Administrator under President Obama. Dr. Shah was committed to innovation and the promotion of public-private partnerships in a bid to eradicate poverty. He focused on offering assistance to countries facing democratic transitions and the humanitarian crisis.
- Ambassador Kenneth M. Quinn – President. The World Food Prize Foundation
He served as a US Ambassador to the Kingdom of Cambodia before he took the reins of the World Food Prize Foundation on January 1, 2000. He had served in the State Department for 32 years. He has led several campaigns to build this annual $250,000Food Prize award into “the Nobel Prize for Food and Agriculture.” This event is held every October in Des Moines on or around World Food Day, on October 16.
- Mamadou Biteye – Managing Director, Africa, the Rockefeller Foundation
Some of the issues he oversees include health, agriculture and food security, youth employment and philanthropy in Africa. He is an agricultural economist by training and has had over two decades of experience in program development and implementation, advocacy, policy development, strategic leadership, and participatory community development. He played a vital role in the microfinance programme run by Oxfam which has been a great success in Mali and Senegal.
- H.E Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko – Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, African Union Commission (AUC)
She is an Angolan national and a leading African Agronomist. Before joining the African Union Commission, she was a Special Advisor to the Minister of Agriculture and the Minister Environment. In the Ministry of Agriculture, she was concerned with food security and the eradication of hunger and poverty. In the Ministry of Environment, she served as an Ambassador responsible for Climate Change. She was once the Secretary General of the Inter African Coffee Organization (IACO) in Cote D’Ivoire. She represented 25 coffee producing countries.
- Arne Cartridge – Senior Advisor and Head of Global Initiatives, Yara International
Before joining Yara, he has held positions that have contributed to his immense knowledge as a lead strategist in developing public-private partnerships for sustainable development. He was once the Executive Director of Grow Africa. Other positions held by Mr. Arne Cartridge include Executive Vice President with Yara International ASA and Senior Director at the World Economic Forum. He is also one of the initiators of the African Green Revolution Forum.
- H.E. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete
He was the President of the Republic of Tanzania from 2005 to 2015. He played a critical role in the negotiations concerning the Customs Union, between Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania, and the integration of the East African Community. He is involved in agribusiness, specifically dairy farming and growing of fruits.
- Dr. Christian Witt – Senior Program Officer Soil Health, Agricultural Development, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
His primary responsibility at the Bill and Melinda Gate Foundation is to provide strategic direction on the innovation of soil health, fertilizer management, and agronomy, with a focus on Sub-Sahara Africa and South Asia. He has more than 17 years’ worth of experience in soil nutrient management and plant nutrition.
- J. Scott Angle – President & CEO, International Fertilizer Development Centre (IFDC)
He has a BS and MS in Agronomy and Soil Science respectively. He also has a Ph.D. in Soil Microbiology from the University of Missouri. He was once a Director of the Maryland Agricultural Experiment Station and Maryland Cooperative Extension, at the University of Maryland. He served in this position for 24 years. He currently oversees over 800 members of staff. He coordinates projects in various regions in the world. IFDC focuses on the alleviation of global hunger and poverty through economic development and self-sufficiency.
- Dr. Holger A. Kray – Head of the World Bank’s Africa Agricultural Policy Unit
He is a Lead Agricultural Economist for Africa in the World Bank. He is involved in the Africa Agricultural Policy Unit which is tasked with overseeing economic and policy development related to the development of agriculture in the region. He has had extensive experience in Agri-food transformation and rural development. He has worked in Europe, Central Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, and Africa. He has a Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics.
Host and Partners
The African Green Revolution Forum has 17 partners who have played a key role in promoting this forum annually. Al these member partners are focused on the elevating the value of farmers in the growing African economies. The partners for this event are;
- The African Union Commission (AUC)
- The African Development Bank
- The African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP)
- The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)
- The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
- The Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA)
- The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
- Grow Africa
- The International Development Research Centre (IDRC) of Canada
- The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
- The MasterCard Foundation
- NEPAD Agency
- OCP Group
- The Rockefeller Foundation
- The Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions (SACAU)
- The US Agency for International Development (USAID)
- Yara International ASA
The African Green Revolution Forum is sponsored by;
- Jain Irrigation Systems Ltd
- The Department of International Development, UKAID
- Care International
- World Economic Forum
- The Food and Land Use Coalition
- Kofi Annan Foundation
- The Chicago Council on Global Affairs
- Africa Improved Foods
- Tony Blair Institute for Global Change
- Mother Africa Needs You (MANY)
- East Africa Trade Investment Hub, USAID
- The German Cooperation
- Syngenta, Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture
- Master Card
- Development Bank of Rwanda
- World Bank Group
- Liquid Telecom
- Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF)
- USAID, From the American People