By Wanjala Danson, Contributor
African leaders, businesses and development partners have pledged more than US $30 billion dollars in investments for Africa smallholder farmers.
The investment will go into to increase production, income and employment for farmers and local African agriculture businesses over the next ten years.
The collective pledges at the AGRF represent the largest financial commitments to the African agricultural sector to date.
This is the first wave of support for the new â€śSeize the Momentâ€ť campaign supported by the African Union Commission, the New Partnership for Africaâ€™s Development (NEPAD), the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), NGOs, companies and donor countries.
The campaign pushes for the political, policy, and financial commitments to transform Africaâ€™s agricultural sector.
The goal includes a new era of business opportunities for the 70 percent of the African population that depend on farming for food and income.
President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, who is the Chair of the African Peer Review Mechanism, stated that the ceremony by calling for a continental scorecard that will measure and track the commitments to agriculture transformation and ensure they translate into action
Joined by President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, President Kenyatta announced his government will invest US $200 million in agriculture to enable 150,000 young farmers and young agriculture entrepreneurs gain access to markets, finance, and insurance.
Gayle Smith, Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), called for investors and donors to be bold and do their part to achieve â€śA Food-Secure 2030â€ť.
The US government already has invested more than $6.6 billion in global food security and nutrition efforts through its Feed the Future initiative. This commitment is now locked in for the long-term following approval in July of the bipartisan Global Food Security Act legislation. Smith noted that the initiative â€śsignals the US governmentâ€™s enduring commitment to global food security and nutrition and is the largest development authorization the US Congress has made in a decade.â€ť
AGRF Partners Chairman and Founder and CEO of Econet Strive Masiyiwa called for other investors and partners to join the â€śSeize the Momentâ€ť campaign.
The commitments were made at the official opening of the sixth African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) that has attracted more than 1,500 influential figures from 40 countries for three days of brokering new agricultural initiatives.
Other agriculture investors and development partners announcing new financial and policy commitments included: The African Development Bank, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) Group, OCP Africa, World Food Programme, Yara International ASA, and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
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