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Africa: U.S.$ 30 Billion Pledge Boosts Hopes for Farming in Africa

Prospects for agriculture in Africa took a huge boost last week as leaders, business people and major development partners pledged more than 30 billion US dollars in investments to expedite transformation of the sector.

The collective pledges at the African Green Revolution Forum in Nairobi, Kenya, mark a major breakthrough in efforts to transform agriculture, the mainstay of the economies of most of African countries, to become the key driver of growth.

The pledges believed to represent the largest package of financial commitment to agricultural sector in Africa to date, will be directed to increase production, income and employment for small scale farmers and local African agricultural businesses over the next ten years.

The commitments were made at the official opening of the Sixth African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) that attracted more than 1,500 influential figures from 40 countries for three days of brokering new agricultural initiatives.

The historic investments represent just the first wave of support for the new 'Seize the Moment' campaign one backed by the African Union Commission, the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), the African Development Bank, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), key NGOs, companies and donor countries. While agriculture in Africa has seen significant progress in the last ten years, the 'Seize the Moment' campaign.

A frank acknowledgement that much more is needed for African countries to achieve inclusive economic development and ultimately realise the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The campaign is a decisive push for the political, policy and financial commitments essential to transform Africa's agricultural sector. The goal is to make agriculture a new era of business opportunities for the 70 per cent of African population that depend on farming for food and income, yet too often face poverty and poor nutrition.

Addressing reporters, the President of the African Development Bank and a former Ministerof Agriculture in Nigeria, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, said he was excited with the trend of events in the agriculture sector.

"I have been into agriculture for a very long time and this is the time that everything seems to be coming together on finance, technology, institutions and political will to drive the change. We can be more excited than to be here," he stated.

"The transformation of Africa will only work if we transform agriculture," said Kenya's President, Uhuru Kenyatta, during his address at the opening ceremony of the forum.

"Because we are coming together at a time when our continent is filled with incredible opportunity, but at the same time it also is faced with profound threats in almost equal measure," he said.

President Kenyatta stepped forward as one of the first champions of the "Seize the Moment" campaign with a commitment by his government to invest $200 million so at least 150,000 young farmers and young agriculture entrepreneurs could gain access to markets, finance and insurance.

The President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, joined Kenyatta on stage to spur leaders on the continent and around the world to harness the potential of agriculture to fight hunger and poverty in Africa.

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