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Realizing the Potential of African Agriculture

A farmer trainer consults with a member of the Shegole coffee farming cooperative, in his corn field in western Ethiopia. (Photo credit: Jonas Bendiksen)

A huge shift in thinking is occurring in African agriculture that holds great promise for the continent’s growing economies and for African farmers. Increasingly, African agriculture is viewed no longer as just as a development project needing aid, but much more hopefully as a business worthy of investment.

This seismic change was on full display earlier this month in Abuja, Nigeria, where the Rockefeller Foundation convened a pan-African summit on Realizing the Potential of African Agriculture. The summit was part of a series of global convenings hosted by the Foundation on its centennial year.

The dynamic gathering included top leaders from the agricultural and the finance sectors who discussed how the two fields could collaborate to strengthen African agriculture. The meeting included African ministers of agriculture and of finance, investment bankers, heads of non-governmental organizations, top agricultural experts and, of course, farmers themselves. They debated ways that agriculture and finance working together could rapidly scale major innovations that would grow economies and benefit people, including smallholder farmers.

The delegates emerged from the two-day summit with 21 recommendations for action. They include a range of ideas from the creation of online “deal markets” that link farmers and investors, to the adoption of laws that support agriculture as a business venture instead of as a development project.

Recommendations From Working Groups

Click here for more information on the working group’s recommendations.

Experts examining these recommendations will now determine specific ways that they might be implemented. We will unveil those ideas as they become available here on The RockBlog. We are certain that they will not only shape our own strategies but will influence actions of many others who see the great potential of African agriculture.

For further reading and multimedia content on the catalytic innovations currently in development in Africa, please visit our Centennial event page.

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