Press Release - UN Calls on Public and Private Sectors to improve Food Security in Africa
Johannesburg, October 17, 2011 – Africa's agribusiness leaders and senior Government officials have lent their voices to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP's) clarion call for the private sector to engage in ensuring agribusiness growth and food security in Africa.
The three –day AgriBusiness Forum which began on Monday is hosted by the African Facility for Inclusive Markets (AFIM) of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the European Marketing Research Centre (EMRC) in collaboration with the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) and Rabobank Foundation.
Speaking at the official opening, which was also attended by Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, UNDP Officer in Charge Designated for East and Southern Africa Ernest Fausther called for greater collaboration between private and public sector stating that the Millennium Development Goals cannot be achieved without the private sector. He also highlighted the role of AFIM as regional platform supporting enhanced Private Sector contributions for job creation and fighting hunger in the continent.
The Forum has brought together agribusiness leaders and decision makers including private entities, financiers, donors, industrialists, researchers, Governments, international organisations and NGOs. The Forum aims at strengthening the Agri-Food sector in Africa, by encouraging partnerships, the exchange of best practices and attracting investments.
"Why has Africa become poor and food insecure despite our potential and mineral wealth? Political instability and issues like the failure to access loans continue to threaten food security. Food security in Zimbabwe remains a huge issue in Zimbabwe, with rates of chronic and acute food shortages ranging 35%", said Mr Tsvangirai.
Participants at the forum will discuss the role of the Private Sector in stimulating Agribusiness inclusive market development, the issue of finance for Agri-Food growth, how to boost regional and international trade and investment through value chains, opportunities in agribusiness in Africa, innovative technologies for small farmers and successful inclusive business models. There will also be special focus on the agricultural sector opportunities in Equatorial Guinea and Zimbabwe. The Minister of Agriculture of South Sudan will also participate in the event to present the newest African country plans and strategies to work with the Private Sector .
Managing Director and Vice President of EMRC, Idit Miller said "Many hundreds of millions of people depend on agriculture – it supports the livelihoods of 70% of the population in Africa. Over 7 billion people have to be fed globally, and Africa can clearly play a significant role in this regard."
To encourage rural development innovation and entrepreneurship the AgriBusiness Forum will feature the EMRC-Rabobank Project Incubator Award. The winner receives a cash prize of US$15.000, sponsored by Rabobank Foundation.
During the last day of the Agribusiness Forum, UNDP will convene a special Public Private Dialogue session with the participation of Ministers, Food Companies CEOs, representatives of Civil Society Organizations, Regional Economic Organizations, development Partners devoted to the topic of "Inclusive Growth in the Agri-Food Sector" and a final declaration on the way forward is expected to be agreed upon.
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For more information contact:
UNDP Regional Communications Adviser
Phone: +27 716718734
EMRC Media and Communications Manager
Phone: +32 2626 1517
Note to editor
EMRC's mission is to lead the private sector in Africa to sustainable economic development and to drive regional change via partnerships. Established in 1992 in Brussels, EMRC is a non-profit International Association composed of a network of entrepreneurs, financiers, consultants and officials based throughout the world.
The Rabobank Foundation is committed to improving the lives of underprivileged and disadvantaged groups of people in society by providing them with the opportunity to live full and independent lives. This commitment to making a difference applies in equal measure to the activities that the Rabobank Foundation undertakes in the Netherlands and in developing countries. The support provided by the Rabobank Foundation reflects Rabobank's unique history and roots and is consequently focus first and foremost on enabling the development of small co-operatives located in rural regions. This support is provided through donations, loans, trade financing and technical assistance. In line with Rabobank's own co-operative background, the Rabobank Foundation especially focuses on establishing and promoting co-operative savings and loan systems with small farm holders and producers organisations.