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African leaders, donors pledge 30 billion USD to boost agriculture

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- African leaders, donors and major multilateral firms have pledged more than 30 billion U.S. dollars to help transform Africa’s agriculture from subsistence farming to agribusiness in the next ten years, officials said on Thursday.

The collective pledges made during the sixth African Green Revolution Forum are believed to represent the largest package of financial commitments to the African agricultural sector to date, backed by the broadest coalitions ever assembled in support of food production on the continent.

A joint statement issued in Nairobi said the pledges were in investments to increase production, income and employment for smallholder farmers and local African agriculture businesses over the next ten years.

Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) president Agnes Kalibata said agriculture can indeed transform the continent.

“This transformation never happens if we did not take the coming ten years seriously,” Kalibata said.

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday announced that Kenya is looking to provide 200 million U.S. dollars funding in the coming five years while the Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) also expressed its plan to avail 350 million dollars in loans for agriculture.

Kenyatta also called for integration of Africa’s agriculture policies because without unity no one country or region can make progress.

“It is clear that without integrating our shared continental vision into our respective domestic policies, we will not only hold back one another, more significantly, we will keep our citizens from experiencing a range of benefits,” said the President.

He called for streamlining of national plans and strategies so that they align with the 2014 Malabo commitments which agreed on a comprehensive development of African agriculture.

The sixth African Green Revolution Forum has 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, the African Development Bank, AGRA, key NGOs, companies and donor countries.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is one of the development partners supporting the initiative to modernize farming in Africa, has also promised to extend its support and plans to commit 5 billion dollars in the next five years.

The Foundation expressed interest in expanding its crop and livestock research programs aimed at helping the region’s farmers.

While African agriculture has seen significant progress in the last ten years, the “Seize the Moment” officials said the campaign is a frank acknowledgment that much more is needed for African countries to achieve inclusive economic development, and ultimately realize the international community’s Sustainable Development Goals.

The campaign is a decisive push for the political, policy, and financial commitments essential to transforming Africa’s agricultural sector.



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