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Agriculture is key to Africa’s prosperity and development: with 70% of Africans dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods, the sector is critical to the economies of all African countries. Food accounts for about 40 per cent of consumption in sub-Saharan Africa; as a sector, its growth is central to increasing prosperity, food security, industrialization, intra-African trade and to bolstering Africa’s contribution to global trade.

Despite its central role, agriculture only contributes about one quarter of Africa’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) with the continent mainly producing and exporting raw products and importing significant amounts of processed food. Lack of inputs, appropriate technology, and infrastructure, in conjunction with high post-harvest losses, drives the lack of competitiveness of many local raw produces in Africa: in Sub-Saharan Africa, post-harvest losses for perishable agro-commodities average 35-50% of total attainable production and vary between 15 to 25% for grains.

In addition to inward challenges, Africa’s agriculture sector continues to be affected by various external factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the conflict in Ukraine. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Africa now faces a shortage of at least 30 million metric tons of food and 2 million metric tons of fertilizer, which will result in 20% decline in food production in Africa that will amount to a loss of over USD11 billion in value.

Assuring food self-sufficiency and attaining food security through improved agricultural and food-processing production is thus essential for inclusive and sustainable industrial development. The development of resilient and sustainable agro-industries accompanying the agricultural transformation is a promising path with its backward and forward value chain linkages among agriculture, manufacturing, and service sectors. It also increases GDP value addition, creates employment opportunities in rural and urban areas as well as increases incomes, ultimately achieving long-term poverty reduction. It will enable Africa to transform from a raw materials supplier to an added value provider, extracting higher rents from commodities, integrating into regional, continental and global value chains, and promoting diversification anchored in value addition and local content development.

With the opening of free trade area on 1 January 2021, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) provides a major opportunity for Africa’s agro industries: Africa’s food and beverage markets are projected to reach USD1 trillion by 2030, which is another promising opportunity for agriculture and agribusiness. The AfCFTA will push opportunities to realize greater economic integration with a continent-wide market for its own agro-industrial products.

The need to build resilient and sustainable agricultural industrialization in Africa is stronger than ever. By highlighting Industry 4.0 and digital technologies for agro-processing value chain, the event captures the momentum as an opportunity for agro-industrialization under the AfCFTA and discusses how agricultural potential can be the driver for Africa’s inclusive and sustainable industrial development in the context of the Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa (IDDA III) and of TICAD8.

Objective of the Event

  • Share innovative approaches to enhance Africa’s agro industry development in Africa
  • Explore and discuss ways to enhance partnerships for Africa’s food security through resilience and sustainable agro-industrialization.
  • Discuss and identify innovative funding solutions to support the development of agro industries in Africa
  • Showcase an evidence –based good practices in promoting sustainable value chain. Case study of the bush value-chain in Namibia