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FFD3: Agricultural transformation in Africa needs leadership, partnership

Government leadership and partnerships with the private sector as well as civil society are crucial for Africa in order to achieve food security underlines a panel co-hosted by the US government’s global food security initiative, Feed the Future, and the African Union Commission (AUC). The panel, held on Wednesday July 14th at the Hilton Addis Abeba, as a side event of the third Finance for Development Conference aimed to highlight how the commission’s Comprehensive Agricultural Development Program (CAADP) set the foundation for enhanced engagement for the governments throughout the continent with the private sector as well as how non-state actors actor advancement of country-led approaches towards food security.

“Since the initiation of CAADAP we have seen a tremendous transformation in agriculture sector,” acknowledged Erastus Mwencha, Deputy Chairperson of the AUC in his opening remarks, “for which our host country can be a very good example.”

Ambassador Alfonso Lenhardt, Acting Administrator of the USAID, on his part, accentuated that “the possibilities are truly endless” when the private sector, the civil society and all relevant stakeholders are engaged in ensuring food and nutrition security. “We are on a critical part of the post-2015 agenda. And we must work together” towards the transformation of the agricultural sector. Echoing his statement, one of the panelists Khalid, Bomba, Chief Executive Officer of the Ethiopian Government’s Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA) said that while it is important to “increase production and productivity, manage risks and disaster as well as work on commercialization, we must work together to translate policies into action. We must engage the private sector and civil society groups.”

“We cannot overemphasize the role governments play,” remarked Dr. Abebe Woldaregay, AUC’s Deputy Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture. But “agriculture must be co-owned by other state ministries like the ministry of trade.”
In her closing remark, Patricia M. Haslach summed up everything when she said “private capital, domestic resources and external help are pivotal,” if Africa is to tackle the challenges it faces when it comes to food security and nutrition.

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