In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Tenth Annual Summit of the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) which brings together over thousands of delegates from governments, the civil society, the private sector, research community and development partners will be held virtually from 8-11 September 2020 and will be co-hosted by the Government of Rwanda and the AGRF Partners Group.
The theme of the summit, “Feed the Cities, Grow the Continent: Leveraging Urban Food Markets to Achieve Sustainable Food Systems in Africa,” is a call to action to rethink our food systems to deliver resilient, better nourished, and more prosperous outcomes for all.
According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), 61 percent of the world population will be living in urban areas by the year 2025. FAO further states that more than half of Sub Saharan Africa (SSA) population could be living in urban areas by 2050 posing huge challenges for poor towns and cities, which already face challenges such as poverty and inequalities.
To discuss these issues, high-level dignitaries, including current and former Heads of State and Government; Agriculture and Finance Ministers; Central Bank Governors; top and emerging industry leaders from the private sector; lead representatives of farmer organizations; eminent leaders of global and regional development institutions; and key non-governmental implementing partners have been invited to the virtual summit, which had originally been scheduled to take place in Kigali, Rwanda.
“Rwanda looks forward to hosting this virtual gathering, just as much as we will welcome delegates to Kigali, the AGRF home, in future years. Rwanda knows how to build and adapt. We will be driving an agenda of food systems that works for inter African trade, our cities and our rural communities at AGRF. Building the right food systems for Africa will improve the lives of millions,” says Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources Gerardine Mukeshimana.
To make it interactive, registered delegates will be able to pose questions to speakers via integrated chat functions, as well as via social media, using the conference hashtag (#AGRF2020; and #FeedTheCities). Registration is ongoing on the official AGRF Website.
The 2020 AGRF Summit comes at an unprecedented time when African major cities especially those that mainly rely on imported food face a looming hunger crisis following implementation of lockdowns in several countries to contain the spread of COVID-19. It also comes at a time Africa is faced with several other challenges that include climate change, malnutrition, poverty, emergence of pests such as desert locusts and fall armyworms and now coronavirus.
“We need food systems that are equitable, sustainable, resilient, and capable of meeting the global challenges of malnutrition, poverty and climate change as well as be responsive to emerging and unforeseen challenges – such as those posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. We must not relent in our effort to transform food systems for the benefit of everyone,” says Dr. Agnes Kalibata, President of AGRA and Special Envoy to the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit.
As Africa develops and cities grow, radical new thinking is needed on how to feed hundreds of millions in a sustainable way, and drive development. Africa needs systems that meet the health, environmental, social and economic aspirations of people living in rural and urban areas alike. This is realizable in the next decade. Developing urban food markets depends on strengthened rural-urban linkages. Bolstering regional trade in Africa is critical to realizing sustainable and resilient food systems, especially for cities.
The AGRF Summit 2020 will showcase the achievements and ongoing efforts to leverage critical partnerships across rural and urban sectors for shared prosperity.
The AGRF Summit will inspire and call for the adoption of concrete action and commitments from governments, the private sector, farmers and processors, and other stakeholders in the agriculture and food systems sector.
The 2020 AGRF Summit is expected to yield the following tangible and concrete Outcomes:
1. Markets and Trade
Outcome: Build inter-connected African markets that create opportunities, right from rural smallholders to urban supermarkets.
2. Nutritious Food
Outcome: Create demand for African products that fuel diverse, healthy diets with the safety and quality every consumer needs.
3. Food Systems
Outcome: Define the food systems Africa wants and be part of a multi-stakeholder vision for Africa and the world on the future of food.
Outcome: Invest in enterprises and innovations to build a more sustainable and inclusive future.
“This year’s AGRF Summit provides us with an opportunity to have an even more diverse program of engagement, catering to a wider audience, not limited by location or time” says Dr. Debisi Araba, who recently assumed leadership as the Managing Director for the AGRF Secretariat. “This year’s Summit will bring together the voices, hopes, aspirations, ideas, actions, opportunities and mandates to transform agriculture and food systems in Africa. A network of 23 global and African partners fund and support this agenda. The AGRF is poised to increase its reach and impact across Africa and around the world, through ten Thematic Platforms which bring together communities of practice, communication and advocacy.”