In the run up to the AgriBusiness Forum 2013, H.E Robert Masozera, Ambassador of Rwanda, to the Kingdom of Belgium, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the Republic of Cyprus, the EU and the ACP Group, Idit Miller, EMRC Vice President and Managing Director of EMRC, and Pierre van Hedel, Managing Director of Rabobank Foundation, presented the unique opportunities the pan-African AgriBusiness Forum offers to all those involved in Sub-Sahara Africa’s Agri-Food sector. The press conference was held at the Brussels Press Club on 10th September 2013.
Ambassador Masozera spotlighted the importance of the forum in terms of unlocking the agricultural potential of the entire region. “There are over 135 million people living in East Africa and Rwanda is part of three important associations, East African Community (EAC), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Economic Community of the Great Lakes Countries (ECGLC). The opportunities for business and partnerships within just this region are enormous. That is why attending the forum is so important – because there is so much that can be done in terms of business partnerships in the region.”
Parallel to this, Idit Miller shared the many opportunities that will be presented at the forum, citing speakers, partners and supporters. This year’s forum is entitled “The Agri-Food sector: A Catalyst for Sustainable and Inclusive Growth in Africa” co-hosted by EMRC and Rwanda’s Ministry of Agriculture & Animal Resources, in collaboration with the UN’s Food and Agriculture Org. (FAO), Rabobank Foundation and the Rwanda Development Board in addition to the likes of LR Group, UniBRAIN, Banque Populaire du Rwanda, Belgian Technical Cooperation (BTC), IFDC, Bralirwa, Minimex, Amiran Kenya and with the World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) as the forum’s Knowledge Partner and the African Business Roundtable (ABR) as Networking Partner.
A long term EMRC partner, Rabobank Foundation’s Managing Director, Pierre van Hedel, explained why a successful financial group as Rabobank invests in Africa and the benefits the bank is gaining from such investments. He also showcased the merits of attending such a forum and drew attention to the much anticipated EMRC-Rabobank Project Incubator Award: “This award is what the forum is ultimately about, which is bringing everyone involved in the Agri-Food value chain together and showing the amazing, innovative projects coming out of Africa in addition to offering a cash prize of US$15,000 to the winner.”
Finally, the Ambassador concluded that the agriculture sector is one of the most important sectors in Rwanda. Agriculture employs more than 80% of the Rwandese population and the sector is playing a key role in the fight against poverty. He added that Rwanda is one of the most favorable countries for doing business in Africa, ranking number one in East Africa and number three in all of Africa.
These strengths as well as those of the continent will be discussed during the forum which will focus on public and private partnerships, inclusive growth for the entire Agri-Food value chain, in addition to holding hundreds of B2B meetings between participants. Mrs. Miller stressed that the tailor-made B2B sessions will provide a ‘live’ platform to build South-South and North-South Partnerships.
International agricultural experts, Government officials, multinationals, farmer and private sector associations, donor organisations, civil society, investors and financiers representing Africa, Europe, Asia and the Americas will participate to discuss on-going projects, best practices and strategic policies with the aim of attracting investment and establishing business partnerships for this sector, acknowledged as pivotal for the entire continent’s growth.
To view the forum programme, please click here.
To view a selection of the forum speakers, please click here.