Rwanda Wins Bid to Host Continental Agriculture Body

A Nyabihu-based professional Irish potatoes farmer stands in her plantation (file photo).
7 September 2019

Rwanda will host the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) next year and also serve as the seat of the organization going forward, a statement from AGRF Partners Group says.

The group made the announcement on September 6 in Accra, Ghana during the 2019 AGRF. The statement revealed that the move followed a competitive bidding process.

AGRF is now well established as the premier platform for leaders from across Africa and the world to advance concrete plans and share knowledge to tap the enormous potential of agriculture to drive equitable and sustainable growth across the continent, according to its organizers.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (in Rwanda) said that winning such a position was an indicator that Rwanda's institutions are strong and have concerted and coordinated efforts.

"Rwanda's hosting of AGRF 2018 featured the largest attendance on record and the leadership of H.E. President Paul Kagame, both in presiding over that historic gathering and in his broader commitment to the transformational power of agriculture, has set a model for all to follow," said Hailemariam Desalegn, former Prime Minister of Ethiopia.

Desalegn was this month announced as the Board Chair for the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and as chair of the AGRF Partners Group.

"The AGRF Partners look forward to working closely with the Republic of Rwanda in this new approach, particularly under the committed leadership of H.E. President Paul Kagame," he observed.

The AGRF Partners noted that Rwanda's partnership as the home country of AGRF will also increase accountability and commitment of the continent's leaders to use the forum as a focal point for delivering on the goals laid out by African Heads of State and Government in the African Union's Malabo Declaration, United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and Africa Agenda 2063.

AGRF is a partnership of institutions that care about Africa's agriculture transformation.

The AGRF Partners Group is made up of a coalition of 21 leading actors in African agriculture all focused on putting farmers at the center of the continent's growing economies.

Its partners currently include the African Union Commission (AUC), the African Development Bank, the African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP), the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

Others are the Mastercard Foundation, the UK Department for International Development (DFID), and the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

AGRF has taken place in eight different countries over the last decade, ensuring that awareness, models, lessons, and the political will required to drive an inclusive agricultural transformation in Africa grow steadily across the continent.

At the end of its first decade, the statement said, the AGRF will now adjust its approach and adopt a "home and away" model where the Forum will alternate between hosting the event in Rwanda in even years and different host countries across the continent in alternate years.

The move will add the Republic of Rwanda to the AGRF Partners Group to help shape and drive the AGRF's long-term vision, deepen relationships with service providers to streamline organizational logistics and unlock partnerships with several new institutions looking to grow with the forum.

"We are honored to be the home country for AGRF and are committed to working closely and collaboratively with our many partners across Africa and around the world to ensure the continued growth and influence of AGRF as the voice of Africa's smallholder farmers and agriculture businesses," GerardineMukeshimana, Rwanda's Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources, said.

Talking about the implications of the move, Minister Mukeshimana told Sunday Times it will boost Rwanda's agriculture sector, and become a leader in shaping the Africa agriculture transformation agenda.

"[It will] attract the private sector in agriculture, and income to our tourism industry as the forum attracts close to 3000 participants," Mukeshimana said.

So far, about $60 billion commitments have been made to Africa's agriculture thanks to the Forum, according to information from AGRA.

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