DR Congo’s Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock (MINAGRI) and EMRC announced the upcoming AgriBusiness Forum 2015 to be held in Kinshasa from 22-25 March 2015 to promote the vast economic opportunities linked to the country’s agricultural sector as part of a national drive to bolster the country’s food security through its private sector.
The announcement was made during an official press conference with the representatives of MINAGRI, EMRC and the Fund for the Promotion of Industry of the Congo (FPI) on 6th February 2015 at the Fleuve Congo Hotel in Kinshasa, DR Congo in front of a gathering of the national press corps.
“This forum is a great moment for Congo to highlight investment opportunities in the country’s agricultural sector, a priority for the government’s policy objectives. There will be many international partners and investors related to the agri-food sector to promote inclusive growth through agriculture,” explained Dr. Hubert Ali Ramazani, Secretary General of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fishing and Livestock during the official announcement of the upcoming AgriBusiness Forum 2015.
Idit Miller, EMRC Vice President, a panel speaker during the press conference, emphasized the importance of promoting the private sector and more specifically SMEs. “There will be representatives from the public and private sector participating during the forum’s plenary sessions and they will also take part in the B2B sessions, a key moment to establish business partnerships. This is a significant gathering for the Congolese and African SMEs to share their projects with donors, financiers and other potential partners,” she emphasised. “We are expecting a large number of African based companies to be discussing potential partnerships with other company representatives from across the world,” she added.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Fund for the Promotion of Industry of the Congo (FPI), Constantin Mbengele Kweke, then took the floor, stressing the importance of the role of the private sector. “We must strengthen the agro-industrial enterprises in the country. This is essential. And it is for this that the FPI has decided to play an important role in the AgriBusiness Forum,” he explained. “The country needs to bolster its private sector as the country can only move forward if investors and industry leaders are confident that the country can offer a sustainable and reliable business environment. This forum is an important step in this direction,” he added.
The Forum will place particular emphasis on the promotion of SMEs and the integration of small farmers into agricultural value chains, taking into account the vital role that SMEs play in economic and social growth. To encourage innovation in Africa, EMRC has initiated with the Rabobank Foundation, the Project Incubator Award. A reward of US$15,000 is awarded to the best project following a competition open to all participants. This is an important opportunity for the Congolese SMEs working in the field to receive international recognition vis-à- vis investors, donors and the international media which will be present.
Entitled “Towards an Inclusive Growth: A New Vision for Africa’s Agricultural Transformation“, the forum will bring together more than 300 people from across Africa, Europe, the USA and elsewhere including entrepreneurs, financiers, officials, donors funds, NGOs, foundations and farmer organizations.
The Forum is supported by trusted partners such as the UNDP, FAO and the Fund for the Promotion of Industry of the Congo (FPI) and beside them strong private sector partners such as the Rabobank Foundation, TMB, LR Group, AGCO, Cargill, Balton, African Milling as well as the public sector: the European Investment Bank, IFC, GAFSP, SNV, BDA, BTC and the Government of The Netherlands.