African Governments Must Prioritize Agriculture to Drive Inclusive Economic Growth and Development

  • Stronger political leadership and increased spending on agriculture required for Africa’s economic transformation
  • Côte d’Ivoire to host the Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) 2017, a high level continental Forum. Smallholder farmers as agribusiness game changers expected to top discussions

Governments across Africa, private sector actors, donors and development partners were today urged to step up efforts to accelerate Africa’s path to prosperity, inclusive growth and decent jobs creation by moving from agricultural commitments to action.

The call was made at the official unveiling of Côte d’Ivoire as the host of this year’s African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) (, hailed as premier continental agriculture gathering, to be held on 4-8 September 2017. The west African nation, a leading agricultural powerhouse and a hub of expertise in improving smallholder farming, will be the first francophone African country to host the annual Forum.

Chosen for its leadership in placing agriculture at the heart of its economic transformation, Côte d’Ivoire is among a few select African countries that have made the biggest investments in agriculture resulting in sizeable increases in both farm productivity and overall economic performance. These countries provide a shining example of agriculture’s potential to turnaround the continent’s economic fortunes.

Under the leadership of His Excellence President Alassane Dramane Ouattara, the AGRF 2017 will focus on Accelerating Africa’s Path to Prosperity: Growing Economies and Jobs through African Agriculture.

Mamadou Sangafowa Coulibaly, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Côte d’Ivoire, emphasised his country’s commitment to continually improve the agricultural sector which is key to its economic development.

“Five years of significant investments through the National Agricultural Investment Plan have enabled the country to empower farmers and place them at the heart of Côte d’Ivoire’s economic transformation. The first phase of the NAIP contributed to a significant boost in our agricultural production, with more than 17 million tons of food crops in 2015 compared to 11,886 million? Tons in 2012. We are delighted to see that our efforts are being recognized internationally. We are confident that Phase 2 of the NIP, based on a more integrated approach that includes water resources management, health, electricity and education, will help to lift farmers out of poverty and further stimulate our economy. Côte d’Ivoire is committed to developing its agricultural economy, this needs to be consolidated. “

Agriculture is the backbone of Côte d’Ivoire’s economy and its robust growth is driven by sustained investment in agriculture and smallholder farmers. The sector contributes 26 percent of GDP, 40 percent of all export revenue, close 75 percent of non-oil export revenue and employs close to 60 percent of the population. The 2016-2020 National Development Plan (PND) aimed at guiding the country into emerging nation status by 2020, considers agriculture as a key pillar and specifically calls for an increase in agricultural output.

Speaking at the launch event in Abidjan, Agnes Kalibata, President of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), said “Agriculture is now back at the top of Africa’s development agenda as an economic driver for inclusive and sustainable development. After Seizing the Moment at AGRF 2016 and securing political, policy, and financial commitments of more than $30 billion. As agriculture is the surest path to Africa’s prosperity, we now need to harness this surge of support for agriculture and ensure it creates decent jobs and drives economic growth across the continent.”

Similar sentiments were echoed by the President of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina. Highlighting the Bank’s prioritization of the agriculture sector against its $24 billion Feed Africa strategy, Adesina said “AGRF 2017 will bring together stakeholders in the African agricultural landscape to share lessons on countering the challenges being experienced in the agricultural sector across the African continent. The forum, expected to host African Heads of State, ministers, farmer organizations, private agribusinesses, financial institutions, researchers, development partners, and implementing organizations, will provide a platform where delegates can discuss and advance policies, programmes, and scalable investments for the enhancement of agricultural transformation and food security. Through its Feed Africa Strategy, the African development Bank will raise its financing of agriculture to over USD24 billion in the next 10 years”.

Distributed by APO on behalf of African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF).

Media contacts

Côte d’Ivoire Ministry of Agriculture
Mme DOSSO-KONE BATHINE, Conseiller Technique en charge, de la Communication at 225 07 82 42 13*

Nafissatou N’diaye Diouf, Managing Director 54 Communications at
or Tel. No: +22558943396.


Waiganjo Njoroge, AGRA Global Media Lead at or Tel. No: +254 723 857 270

Olivia Ndong Obiang, Principal Communication Advisor at or Tel. No: +225 01 56 05 05

Note to editors

About AGRF
AGRF ( is an alliance of partners that care about, commit to and invest in Africa’s agricultural transformation. These partners include: African Union, African Development Bank (AfDB), African Fertiliser and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP), AGRA, Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), The MasterCard Foundation, NEPAD, OCP Africa Group, The Rockefeller Foundation, The Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions (SACAU), Syngenta, and Yara International. The AGRF Secretariat is hosted by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), itself an African-led institution focused on putting farmers at the centre of our continent’s growing economies.

Source:: African Governments Must Prioritize Agriculture to Drive Inclusive Economic Growth and Development


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Africa in pictures : Somalia

Somalia, officially the Federal Republic of Somalia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is bordered by Ethiopia to the west, Djibouti to the northwest, the Gulf of Aden to the north, the Indian Ocean to the east, and Kenya to the southwest. Somalia has the longest coastline on Africa’s mainland, and its terrain consists mainly of plateaus, plains and highlands. Climatically, hot conditions prevail year-round, with periodic monsoon winds and irregular rainfall.

mogadishu photo

the streets of Mogadishu by ctsnowPhoto by ctsnow

Somalia has an estimated population of around 12.3 million. Around 85% of its residents are ethnic Somalis,[3] who have historically inhabited the northern part of the country. Ethnic minorities are largely concentrated in the southern regions. The official languages of Somalia are Somali and Arabic, both of which belong to the Afroasiatic family. Most people in the country are Muslim, with the majority being Sunni.

mogadishu photo

liido beach by YusufsomPhoto by Yusufsom



In antiquity, Somalia was an important commercial centre. It is among the most probable locations of the fabled ancient Land of Punt. During the Middle Ages, several powerful Somali empires dominated the regional trade, including the Ajuran Empire, the Adal Sultanate, the Warsangali Sultanate, and the Geledi Sultanate. In the late 19th century, through a succession of treaties with these kingdoms, the British and Italian empires gained control of parts of the coast and established the colonies of British Somaliland and Italian Somaliland. In the interior, Mohammed Abdullah Hassan’s Dervish State repelled the British Empire four times and forced it to retreat to the coastal region, before succumbing to defeat in 1920 by British airpower. The toponym Somalia was coined by the Italian explorer Luigi Robecchi Bricchetti (1855–1926). Italy acquired full control of the northeastern, central and southern parts of the area after successfully waging the so-called Campaign of the Sultanates against the ruling Majeerteen Sultanate and Sultanate of Hobyo. Italian occupation lasted until 1941, yielding to British military administration. British Somaliland would remain a protectorate, while Italian Somaliland in 1949 became a United Nations Trusteeship under Italian administration, the Trust Territory of Somaliland. In 1960, the two regions united to form the independent Somali Republic under a civilian government.

mogadishu photo

Mountains by najeebPhoto by najeeb

The Supreme Revolutionary Council seized power in 1969 and established the Somali Democratic Republic. Led by Mohamed Siad Barre, this government later collapsed in 1991 as the Somali Civil War broke out. Various armed factions began competing for influence in the power vacuum, particularly in the south. During this period, due to the absence of a central government, Somalia was a “failed state”, and residents returned to customary and religious law in most regions. A few autonomous regions, including the Somaliland and Puntland administrations emerged in the north. The early 2000s saw the creation of fledgling interim federal administrations. The Transitional National Government (TNG) was established in 2000, followed by the formation of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) in 2004, which reestablished national institutions such as the military. In 2006, the TFG, assisted by Ethiopian troops, assumed control of most of the nation’s southern conflict zones from the newly formed Islamic Courts Union (ICU). The ICU subsequently splintered into more radical groups such as Al-Shabaab, which battled the TFG and its AMISOM allies for control of the region.

mogadishu photo

dhurba by YusufsomPhoto by Yusufsom

By mid-2012, the insurgents had lost most of the territory that they had seized. In 2011–2012, a political process providing benchmarks for the establishment of permanent democratic institutions was launched.[26] Within this administrative framework a new provisional constitution was passed in August 2012, which reformed Somalia as a federation. Following the end of the TFG’s interim mandate the same month, the Federal Government of Somalia, the first permanent central government in the country since the start of the civil war, was formed and a period of reconstruction began in Mogadishu. Somalia has maintained an informal economy, mainly based on livestock, remittances from Somalis working abroad, and telecommunications. (Wikipedia)

mogadishu photo

Bss by YusufsomPhoto by Yusufsom

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Somali drought heightens risk to mothers during pregnancy and childbirth

Of the 6.2 million people affected by the drought ravaging Somalia, more than 1.5 million are women of childbearing age. UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, is particularly concerned about the fate of 607,000 pregnant women across the country who need maternal health services to ensure a safe pregnancy and delivery, including emergency obstetric services. To help address their needs, UNFPA is scaling up its emergency response to help more than 130,000 pregnant women who may require urgent care.

Somalia already has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world, with over nearly 1 of every 22 mothers dying from pregnancy related causes. More than 350 000 Somalis are refugees and a further 400 000 are internally displaced.

“I was struck by the fact that the face of displacement is a woman with her child. The men have stayed behind to tend their farms and livestock while it is the women who have made the arduous and risky trek often for many days to get some relief,” says UNFPA’s Chief of Humanitarian and

Fragile Contexts Branch, Ugochi Daniels, following visits to drought-affected areas in Somalia this week. “The toll of displacement, drought, and the lack of services on women and girls is immense, and calls for an equally immense response to provide direct medical services and support,” exclaimed Daniels.

UNFPA provides life-saving reproductive health services across Somalia including referral of complicated cases during pregnancy and delivery, emergency reproductive health kits and medical and psychosocial support to survivors of gender-based violence. UNFPA is appealing to international donors for funding of $24 million for the Somalia humanitarian response for reproductive health and to protect women and girls from gender-based violence (GBV).

Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

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World Book and Copyright Day: Beginning of the term of Conakry, capital of the Republic of Guinea, as World Book Capital (2017-2018)

World Book and Copyright Day is celebrated every year on 23 April, the date on which both William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes died. On this occasion, publishing houses, bookstores, libraries, cultural institutions and associations of authors mobilize across the world to promote reading, publishing, and protection of intellectual property.

This year the focus will be on the blind and the visually impaired for whom there is difficulty accessing books and other printed materials, which constitutes an obstacle to their full and effective participation in society. According to the World Blind Union (WBU), among the millions of books published worldwide each year, less than 10% are published in formats that are accessible to the blind. A rate that drops to 1% in developing countries.

“World Book and Copyright Day is an opportunity to highlight the power of books to promote our vision of knowledge societies that are inclusive, pluralistic, equitable, open and participatory for all citizens,” UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova said in her message given on the occasion of the World Book and Copyright Day 2017.

In accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, UNESCO advocates for the rights and needs of persons with disabilities and encourages the effective use of accessible, adaptive and affordable ICTs.

In this context, UNESCO is organizing a conference on accessibility issues, Accessibility, what are the challenges in publishing? (Monday, 24 April, 9 am to 12pm, ROOM II) with its partner Asfored (a French association for professional training and development in the field of publishing).

The Day also marks the beginning of the term of Conakry, capital of the Republic of Guinea, as World Book Capital (2017-2018). Conakry has been singled out by UNESCO and its partners “on account of the quality and diversity of its programme,” in particular ” its focus on community involvement,” as well as “for its well-structured budget and clear development goals with a strong emphasis on youth and literacy.”

The city of Conakry, along with the rest of the African continent, will be featured during the celebrations of the Day that will promote African literature at UNESCO headquarters on Monday, 24 April from 1pm to 5:30pm. Workshops, activities, reading clubs, musical performances and roundtables will be organized in the presence of African authors.

Several publishing houses will join the celebration, including À dos d’âne, Éditions Dagan, L’Harmattan Guinée, Editions Nubia, Michel Lafon Éditions, Présences Africaines and Librairie-Galerie Congo.

Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

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