African Green Revolution Forum delegates are calling for greater public-private partnerships, not only within Africa but between the continent and the rest of the world.
Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, CEO of New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), said Africa needs to harness the power of global partnerships in Africa’s green revolution.
The Prime Minister of Tanzania Mizengo Pinda summed it up by saying the difference between this forum and the previous ones is the strong emphasis this one has laid on partnerships. This is important because, as Olusegun Obasanjo, former president of Nigeria, put it: “partnerships are no longer left in the whims and caprices of governments”.
Speakers called for a concerted effort by African governments to formulate pro-poor policies and create an enabling environment for farmers to prosper. Prime Minister Pinda capped it by laying emphasis on agriculture policies that are home grown. He said that Tanzania has formulated a policy hinging on public private partnerships for sustained agricultural production involving both domestic and international partners.
There was also a call for these policies to be creative enough to attract investors. Professor Kwadwo Assenso-Okyere, Director of the International Food Policy Research Institute’s Eastern and Southern Africa Office, said that government policies matter but these policies must attract investors and stressed that there must be continuity regardless of the government in power. “Social protection is also important for public programs to be effective”, he said.
The private sector and banks also play an important role in the Agriculture value chain. Standard Bank Group’s Chief Executive of its Africa operations, Clive Tasker explains their role in this value chain saying “management of risks is the management of the whole value chain”.
He also said that Standard Bank Group helps these farmers create a market for these products. “We have a strong business plan to do it and we certainly have the obligation to do it” he summed up.
The Forum, which finishes tomorrow, is being chaired by Kofi Annan and is hosted by His Excellency John Atta Mills, President of Ghana, who is represented by Vice-president John Mahama, and the government of Ghana.