“Opportunity for stakeholders in the region to critically examine issues”
by Amore Swart
Agriculture in Africa is fast becoming the new frontier. Every day the business interests of large investors and multinational companies are realized in the potential of agriculture in East Africa. The business opportunities in East Africa are growing daily. Continued political and economic stability in the region is further accelerating development in the East African region.
The region has the resources, the people have the drive, and the leaders have the will – the one critical missing link is the experts, inputs and solution providers. The expertise of the South African farming community is world renowned. Agriculture in the East African region is worth over $176billion and in Tanzania alone the sector will see investments exceed $4billion over the next 20 years. With the respectable reputation that South African farming experts, input suppliers and solution providers revel in, it is surprising to find that the East African market has not yet been capitalised on.
Ready for the agricultural revolution
With average GDP growth of more than 5%, East African countries are ready for the agricultural revolution. Tanzania saw their Gross Domestic Product grow by 7.5% during the first quarter of this year. Agriculture was said to be the main contributing factor to this immense growth. The drive from the entire region to move from hand-hoe to tractor technology, this growth can only intensify.
There are tens of thousands of commercial farmers in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and the surrounding East African countries – tens of thousands of business opportunities which can be realised by our agri-businesses. The problem faced by most entrepreneurs is meeting their international business partners. Links need to be made and relationships need to be developed – and that is where Agribusiness Congress will make all the difference.
Sound partnerships for stakeholders
In 2012 Agribusiness Congress was launched in Lusaka, Zambia. The difference between Agribusiness Congress and other related events lies in the strength of the team behind this initiative. Spintelligent, an internationally acclaimed corporate events company with over 2 decades’ worth of experience. The Spintelligent team is committed to delivering top quality events which generates business opportunities and develops sound business partnerships for its stakeholders.
The 2012 event and its outcomes were so successful that the government of Tanzania approached Spintelligent to bring this business-to-business focused conference and product showcase to Dar es Salaam. After months of research and planning very strong ties have been forged with the main agricultural stakeholders in Tanzania and Agribusiness Congress East Africa is well on its way to become the region’s top agricultural conference and product showcase.
Interest in the conference has surpassed expectations, and the theme Driving Innovation in Agricultural Development in East Africa has attracted both national and international speakers, sponsors and exhibitors. Top speakers include; Anne Mbaabu, Market Access Programme Director from Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA); Hugh Scott, Director of Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF); Keith Palmer, Founder of AgDevCo; Dr James Kinyangi, Regional Programme Leader for CGIAR. H.E Dr Kikwete, President of Tanzania has also been invited to deliver the keynote address.
Agribusiness Congress East Africa is the first in the 2014 calendar, and numerous agricultural businesses have leapt at the opportunity to start 2014 with a bang. From finance and consulting service, conservation products and services, soil cultivation, sowing and plant protection, pre- and post-harvest technologies, irrigation and large equipment manufacturers, the agricultural value chain is wholly represented in the product showcase area.
According to Janet Bitegeko, Executive Director of the local host association, the Agricultural Council of Tanzania, “The Agribusiness Congress East Africa 2014 is vital to all of us because it provides an opportunity to the agricultural stakeholders in the region to critically examine issues such as accessing affordable finance, infrastructure development, the role of the public and private sectors, fostering multiple stakeholder partnerships, expanding knowledge and sharing of best-practices, as well as access to regional and international agricultural markets.”
Agribusiness Congress East Africa is taking place at in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, from the 28 – 29 January 2014. The programme is stimulating, the stakeholders are engaging, and the setting is conducive to driving innovation in agricultural development in East Africa. For more information, visit www.agri-eastafrica.com
Amore Swart is the programme director of Agribusiness Congress East Africa.