The African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) Summit, together with the Forum’s many year-round activities, is designed to energize political will and advance the policies, programs and investments required to achieve an inclusive and sustainable agricultural transformation across the continent. This year it is held in Kigali, Rwanda, on September 8 – 11, 2020.
AGRF seeks to draw various stakeholders around a common purpose – to unleash the full potential of Africa’s 80% – the millions of smallholder farmers and their families who earn their livelihoods from small-scale farms and provide some 80% of the food and agricultural products consumed across the continent. The Forum is intended to evaluate current realities at all levels – local, national, regional and international – so that it can identify and catalyze the critical next steps towards agricultural transformation.
Theme: Feed the Cities, Grow the Continent
Leveraging Urban Food Markets to Achieve Sustainable Food Systems in Africa
Africa’s cities and food markets are rapidly expanding. Between cities like Lagos and Nairobi, secondary cities like Kumasi and Mbeya, and tertiary cities like Beira and Musanze, Africa’s cities and urban areas now include more than 421 million people. These vibrant hubs comprise an ever-growing number of consumers, diversity of incomes, diversity in diets, and therefore diversity in demand for food. Similarly, this food is being provided in an ever-growing number of ways, whether directly from farmers’ markets, a growing number of mini- and super-markets, food delivery services to a household door, and a burgeoning restaurant and emerging food truck scene for people at varying income levels. On the one hand, you have some of the largest concentrations of poverty, unemployment and underemployment, and people seeking basic food security. Millions of these individuals don’t own land and can’t produce food themselves, so they need to access it however they can and often at the cheapest price. On the other hand, you have a fast-growing middle and upper class in many places, seeking fresh, high quality produce and markets that cater to particular tastes. Food delivery services like Jumia and UberEats are bringing food directly to people’s doorsteps and offices. These trends will only continue, with African urbanization happening at twice the global rate, and Africa’s cities set to double in size to more than 1 billion people in the next 20 years.
Currently, Africa’s food markets are not working for all its people and are widely considered broken. Despite significant economic growth in Africa and progress in recent decades, more than 20 percent of Africans, or 277 million people, still face severe food insecurity, and as much as 50 percent of Africans, or 676 million people, live in moderate food insecurity where they do not have enough to eat at certain meals and occasionally go hungry. This is in a context where we’re producing more food than ever, but we’re losing and wasting as much as 30-40% of food in sub-Saharan Africa that is never consumed. Meanwhile, malnutrition is an even greater problem, with some people not getting enough nutrients and vitamins that can result in stunting and permanently reduced cognitive function for small children, while others are eating too much of the wrong thing, resulting in growing obesity rates and a crisis or epidemic of preventable non-communicable diseases that could soon overwhelm African health systems and cost hundreds of billions of dollars to treat. This money shouldn’t be coming out of economies or household incomes, as the region still does not have sufficient incomes or jobs for all people to earn a decent living. Even with economic growth and falling poverty rates, Africa’s youth unemployment rate exceeds 30%, and it is a top priority to generate new jobs. It is in this context, that Africa is importing more than US $35 billion of food each year, sending its money overseas, when it could be supplying itself and creating more income and jobs for its people, creating backward and forward linkages in the economy that stimulate inclusive economic growth. These issues are only getting worse with increasing populations in many parts of the continent and the challenges of climate change.
We need significant transformations in our food systems to achieve Africa’s goals laid out in the Malabo Declaration and the SDGs by 2030. In particular, we need a change to our food systems if African farmers and consumers are both to benefit, all people are going to increase access to quality, affordable, and nutritious food, and agricultural growth is to drive sustained, inclusive economic growth with more jobs for Africa’s youth.
The AGRF 2020 Summit is critical for Africa’s agriculture and for Rwanda as a defining moment to unlock and highlight many of the political, policy, and financial commitments and innovations the continent needs to advance the commitments made at the Malabo Heads of State Summit and the SDGs Summit.
Building on the success and lessons learned in recent years, the AGRF 2020 expects to deliver the following outcomes:
- Agenda setting
- Policy and
- Investment facilitation and finance
- Knowledge sharing and learning
- Reporting and Accountability
- Partnership development and coordination
- Announcement of the 2019 Africa Food Prize Winner
- The Accra Declaration
The African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) is considered the world’s premier forum for African agriculture, bringing together stakeholders in the agricultural landscape to take practical actions and share lessons that will move African agriculture forward.