The African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) was officially opened on Thursday, 2 September 2010 in Accra, Ghana. The three-day forum, which is being held for the first time in Africa, is chaired by former UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan.
More than 800 delegates are scheduled to participate in the Forum, making it one of the continent’s major gathering of public and private players focusing solely on agriculture development.
Speaking at a press conference, the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group’s Agriculture Director, Aly Abou-Sabaa, emphasized the importance of the event, as it “brings the main actors under one roof, fuels fruitful discussions and encourages partnerships”.
Mr. Abou-Sabaa explained that in order to prepare the way towards a Green Revolution in Africa, the environment surrounding the agricultural sector needed to be improved through actions such as “closing the infrastructure gap, improving inadequate irrigation facilities and reducing high transportation costs”.
He cited the AfDB’s efforts to enhance water storage and water management in African countries, stressing the importance of building partnership with other institutions in order to take advantage of synergies. Agriculture development, he said needed more than a focus on seeds and fertilizer, but also strong efforts in infrastructure development. He mentioned various initiatives spearheaded by the bank, such as the reduction of Post-Harvest Losses and the hosting by the bank of the Africa Fertilizer Financing Mechanism.
Mr Kofi Annan opened the forum in the company of Ghana’s Vice President, John Dramani Mahama, the CEO of Yara International, Jørgen Ole Haslestad, and Dr Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, Chief Executive of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).
Participants at the Accra Forum, inspired by an appeal by Mr. Annan in 2004 for agricultural transformation in Africa, include ministers, international donors, farmers and civil society representatives.
“This is the time to scale-up progress to achieve a uniquely African Green Revolution,” said Mr Annan. He explained that Africa, with a lower density of critical infrastructure than Asia had in the 1960s, needs massive investments.
Although 19 countries have put in place plans to accelerate their annual agricultural growth by six percent a year, experts estimate that Africa will need US$32 billion to US$39 billion annually to achieve the full economic potential of its farm sector.
The meeting, which ends on Saturday, includes a combination of plenary sessions and smaller private meetings and will provide opportunities to make new, firm commitments to deliver a better food production system and a better world for Africans.
By bringing together African heads of state, ministers, farmers, private agribusiness firms, financial institutions, NGOs, civil society and scientists to an Africa-led forum, AGRF focuses on promoting investments and policy support for driving agricultural productivity and income growth for African farmers in an environmentally sustainable way.
The AGRF gathered momentum during three successful African Green Revolution Conferences in Oslo, Norway