The African Union Business Council (AfBC) and the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) have signed a memorandum of understanding to boost agribusiness in Africa.
The partnership was announced at the 8th Agricultural and Science Week held in Durban, South Africa.
The President of the African Union Business Council Dr Amany Asfour in her address explained that the partnership seeks to build the capacity of stakeholders in the agricultural sector with technology and an improved access to finance.
“While the private sector is investing in SMEs, women and youth, small-scale farmers, cooperatives, and young entrepreneurs, etc we need to see how we can build their capacity”, she said.
To achieve this feat, FARA plays a role in harnessing science and technology to accelerate the growth of agriculture and agribusiness by providing “knowledge, education, scientific innovation, etc to our farmers”, she added.
The Monitoring and Evaluation Lead Specialist at FARA, Mr. Anselme Vodounhessi, explained that FARA will focus on “technical assitance [providing farmers with inputs, education, etc” and the AfBC will look at “investment facilitation by linking the private sector to the stakeholders in the agribusiness.”
Mr Anselme who doubles as the CAAPs Coordinator quizzed that when the private sector wants to construct “a processing plant to produce mango juice and you’re not getting the raw mango how will you grow?”
“So what we will be doing is to create an enabling environment [for SMEs, farmers, etc] where they will be able to produce quality foods. Enabling environment refers to the technology and access to finance,” he added.
Dr Asfour further called on African governments to uphold their commitment “to have at least 1 per cent of their finances geared towards scientific and research technologies”, she further rallied them “to be self-sufficient in foods and nutrition”.
The AfBC serves as an independent private-sector institution of the African Union with a focus on boosting intra-African trade and the integration of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
The partnership between the AfBC and FARA is a significant step forward in the fight against hunger and poverty in Africa as the two organizations can help to develop a more sustainable and resilient agricultural sector in Africa.