Cross-Sector Leaders Convene to Identify Innovative Solutions to Strengthen African Agriculture

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Cross-Sector Leaders Convene to Identify Innovative Solutions to Strengthen African Agriculture

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 “Only through collaboration, and knowledge and experience sharing, will we be able to scale innovations with the potential to positively impact the lives of millions.”

– Dr. Judith Rodin, President of The Rockefeller Foundation

Wednesday, July 10, 2013 - 4:45pm

CAMPAIGN: The New Global Citizen

CONTENT: Press Release

Washington DC/Abuja, Nigeria, July 10, 2013 /3BL Media/ -  Early this week, senior leaders in agriculture and finance representing 23 countries across Africa convened in Abuja, Nigeria to discuss innovative ways in strengthening African agricultural markets and value chains to benefit economies and small holder farmers.  The summit, Realizing the Potential of African Agriculture: Catalytic Innovations for Growth, hosted by the Rockefeller Foundation, is part of the Foundation’s Centennial Series, which seeks to identify and discuss dynamic and innovative solutions for challenges affecting the developing world. Deirdre White, CDS’s CEO, was among the heads of state, government ministers, top business leaders, and decision-makers selected to participate in the event.

 “I have seen the catalytic impact robust development of the agriculture sector can have on a community, with initiatives ranging from capacity building for small-holding farmers, to association development, to nucleus farming, to technology innovations around pricing strategies and market access,” said White. Read the rest of White’s commentary on the event here.

Notable guests included:

·         Kofi Annan – Former Sectary General, United Nations

·         H.E. Goodluck Jonathan – President, Federal Republic of Nigeria

·         Dr. Judith Rodin – President, The Rockefeller Foundation

·         Jacques Diouf – Former Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization

·         Olusegun Obasanjo – Former President, Federal Republic of Nigeria

·         Josette Sheeran –President and CEO, Asia Society; Former Executive Director of the World Food Programme

·         Finance Ministers and Agriculture Ministers from the following countries: Nigeria, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia

Over the past 100 years The Rockefeller Foundation has played a leading role in supporting dynamic innovations that have benefited hundreds of millions of people in Africa and beyond.  From supporting yellow fever research in Africa in the early 1900’s, to funding the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture in the 1960s, to its most recent work supporting Digital Jobs in Africa, the Foundation has been active in supporting innovative ways to improve the lives of poor or vulnerable people across the continent. Last month, the Foundation announced a $100 million commitment to improve the lives of 1 million disadvantaged, high-potential youth by connecting them with digital jobs and skills training.

“As we reflect on our 100 year history, we know that in many cases, the Rockefeller Foundation was not alone in its work, nor were we always the original source of innovations. Rather, we were honored to play the part of an innovation engine, bringing together the actors who can amplify, scale, and finance those innovations to reach more people in more places,” said Rodin.

The program, which took place on Monday and Tuesday, included a presidential round-table featuring a number of African presidents who discussed distinct barriers facing the agricultural sectors in their countries.  An innovation spotlight series highlighted a number of modernizations that are reshaping the agriculture sector throughout the African continent. The series included short and dynamic presentations showcasing how seed strengthening, dairy hubs, climate safety nets, and innovations in cassava, rice and maize are allowing farmers to build capacity, boost crop yields, access new markets and increase their incomes.

Additionally, a panel of finance and agriculture ministers from across Africa discussed how financial innovations are helping to make innovations in agriculture a reality.  The panel stressed the need for collaboration between the agricultural and finance sectors in improving economies and bringing innovations to scale.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, one of the featured speakers, underlined the implications of a new attitude towards agriculture. “There is absolutely no doubt that this continent can feed itself and be an exporter.  We must agree that no more will we have other people feeding us.  The face of hunger should not be the face of an African child.”

The ideas and recommendations developed from the meeting are expected to have broad and positive impacts on African agricultural markets and in improving the lives and livelihoods of small holder farmers.



Katie Levey
+1 (917) 593-1989
CDC Development Solutions
Keywords: Events, Conferences & Webinars | Abuja | Business & Trade | CDC Development Solutions | Deirdre White | Digital Jobs in Africa | Dr. Judith Rodin | Environment & Climate Change | Ethical Production & Consumption | Events, Conferences & Webinars | H.E. Goodluck Jonathan

CAMPAIGN: The New Global Citizen

CONTENT: Press Release