Rome, Italy – February 15th, 2015 – The Rockefeller Foundation, the African Union Commission and the International Fund for Agriculture Development today launched the ‘Leadership for Agriculture (L4Ag): The Network for African Ministers of Finance and Agriculture’ on the sidelines of this year’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)’s Governing Council Meeting.
L4Ag is an exclusive network of Africa’s ministers of finance and of agriculture who are coming together to provide leadership and strategic thinking to transform and energize Africa’s agricultural sector, to position it as a major contributor to economic growth across the continent.
Formed in early 2014, L4Ag aims to promote strategic networking amongst member ministers and stakeholders to increase commitment to investing in agriculture; enable members to share best practices in innovative success cases in Africa for replication in their respective countries; promote a structured approach to agriculture productivity across in Africa; encourage stronger accountability measures for agricultural productivity; and to transform the smallholder farm into a productive unit and the farmer into a businessperson.
The network was first convened by the Rockefeller Foundation at 2014’s Fin4Ag conference in Nairobi, together with the African Union Commission. It is open to membership by all of Africa’s Finance and Agriculture ministers, and currently has a growing membership led by the founding countries of Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Equatorial Guinea. The network was joined by Ghana, Madagascar, Sudan and Chad at the launch, and together the ministers expressed confidence that it would catalyze the much needed development and investment in Africa’s agriculture. There was also representation from Mozambique, Angola and Zimbabwe.
“Across Africa, the majority of people depend on agriculture for their livelihoods, yet millions of smallholder farmers and their families remain trapped in poverty. Corporates and financial institutions shy away from making greater investments in the sector due to perceived risks,” said Mamadou Biteye, Managing Director of the Rockefeller Foundation Africa Regional Office. “We can change this, and the new Leadership for Agriculture Network will play an essential role by sharing knowledge among African ministers of agriculture and of finance, particularly about national reforms that can transform agriculture towards enhanced resilience and more inclusive economic growth for farmers, communities, and nations.”
“It is only through collective action and investment that we can ensure that Africa’s future includes a vibrant and productive rural economy that begins on the smallholder family farm, which makes up 80 per cent of all farms in sub-Saharan Africa. Investing in the smallholder farmer is investing in the resilience of food systems, the vigour of communities, and the strength of nations,” said Kanayo F. Nwanze, IFAD President.
“This ministerial network contributes to the outcomes of the African Union Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Africa Agriculture Growth and Transformation, which calls for partnerships and collaboration at multi-sectoral and multi-institutional level. This underscores the importance of Africa’s finance and agriculture sectors sharing information and working together in order to achieve the goal of a food and nutrition secure, and poverty free Africa.” said H.E Rhoda Peace Tumusiime, Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture of the African Union Commission.
Together, the Rockefeller Foundation and the AUC already have a number of initiatives in Africa that are aimed at improving the lives of poor and vulnerable people in agriculture and other sectors. In 2014 they signed a Memorandum of Understanding to promote increased cooperation between them in their efforts towards Africa’s progress.
About The Rockefeller Foundation
For more than 100 years, The Rockefeller Foundation’s mission has been to promote the well-being of humanity throughout the world. Today, The Rockefeller Foundation pursues this mission through dual goals: advancing inclusive economies that expand opportunities for more broadly shared prosperity, and building resilience by helping people, communities and institutions prepare for, withstand, and emerge stronger from acute shocks and chronic stresses. To achieve these goals, The Rockefeller Foundation works at the intersection of four focus areas – advance health, revalue ecosystems, secure livelihoods, and transform cities – to address the root causes of emerging challenges and create systemic change. Together with partners and grantees, The Rockefeller Foundation strives to catalyze and scale transformative innovations, create unlikely partnerships that span sectors, and take risks others cannot – or will not. For more information, please visitwww.rockefellerfoundation.org
About the African Union Commission
The African Union Commission is the Secretariat of the African Union, a 54- Member State regional organisation. Its vision is that of “An integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its owncitizens and representing a dynamic force in global arena” and its mission is to be “An efficient and value-adding institution driving the African integration and development process in closecollaboration with African Union Member States, the Regional Economic Communities and African citizens.” The AU Commission is headquartered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. For more information, please visit www.au.int
About the International Fund for Agriculture Development
IFAD invests in rural people, empowering them to reduce poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition and strengthen resilience. Since 1978, we have provided over US$16.3 billion in grants and low-interest loans to projects that have reached about 438 million people. IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized United Nations agency based in Rome – the UN’s food and agriculture hub.
For more information please contact:
Achieng’ Otieno, Communications Officer, the Rockefeller Foundation Africa Regional Officeaotieno@rockfound.org, +254 704848792.
Niyel (L4AG Network) secretariat contact
NIYEL 108 Ngor Almadies. BP 10607 Dakar Senegal. Tel/Fax: 00221 33 820 50 93. www.niyel.net