Amid the sweeping savannahs and bustling marketplaces of Africa, a new narrative is emerging. The recently concluded Africa Food Systems Forum 2023 laid the foundation for a future where tradition meets innovation, and where the youth and women stand at the forefront of an agricultural transformation.
Empowering Tomorrow’s Agri-Leaders
While the forum discussed extensive topics spanning investments, technological adaptations, and sustainable practices, a clear undercurrent was the emphasis on youth and women. These two demographics, often underrepresented in formal sectors, are now being recognized as the harbingers of change in Africa’s agrarian landscape.
The Rise of Agropreneurs
The AGRF Awards Ceremonies threw light on a new breed of entrepreneurs – the ‘agropreneurs’. Celebrated under categories like the Go Gettaz Agropreneur prizes and the Pitch AgriHack awards, these individuals, a majority of whom are young and female, are fusing innovative technologies with age-old farming practices, bringing fresh perspectives to the field.
Challenges and Resilience
The forum wasn’t just about success stories. It also unveiled the SME report that highlighted the challenges faced by Small and Medium Enterprises in Africa, particularly during triple crises. Yet, the resilience of these enterprises, 40% of which are still infusing additional capital to keep their ventures afloat, demonstrates a tenacity and commitment to growth.
Building Bridges with Investment
The AGRF Dealroom presented a unique platform, bringing together governments, SMEs, and investors. With women and youth entrepreneurs at the helm of many of these SMEs, the Dealroom provided an avenue for them to build bridges with over 100 investors. The proposed investment pipeline, totaling an astonishing USD $10.2 billion, promises not just financial inflow but also knowledge exchange and market expansion.
A Sustainable Vision
The forum, in its essence, encapsulated the vision of a continent where the food system is not just sustainable and resilient but is also inclusive. By placing women and youth at the heart of this transformation, Africa is looking to usher in an era where farming is both a nod to its roots and a leap towards its future.
In the backdrop of Tanzania, under the watchful gaze of President Samia Suluhu Hassan and other eminent leaders, the Africa Food Systems Forum 2023 has sown the seeds of a brighter, inclusive, and prosperous agricultural future.