Kofi Annan, the Chairman of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and Louis Michel, European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid recently kick started a process aimed at implementing a truly participatory and pro-poor African Green Revolution at a conference recently, organised by the Future Agricultures Consortium in partnership with Salzburg Global Seminar.
There is a clear need for a new vision for agricultural development in Africa that can deal with the complexities of agriculture in diverse settings across Africa and meet the conditions necessary to achieve more equitable benefits for Africa’s farmers.
The conference was asking whose vision should this be? How can complexity and diversity be dealt with? What can be learned from the impacts – positive and negative – of the “green revolutions” in Latin America and Asia?
The “Toward a ‘Green Revolution’ in Africa?” conference and subsequent seminar asked what lessons can be extracted from recent successes in African agricultural development and how can recent growth be sustained, expanded, and accelerated?
How can new investments and actors in African agriculture support efforts to align policies and political processes to support agricultural as well as broader development goals? How can innovation systems be made robust, relevant and sustainable? How can the hardware of science and technology be linked to the software of institutions, policy and social dynamics? How should agricultural science and technology in Africa be governed?
Held at Austria’s famous Schloss Leopoldskron, the conference laid the groundwork for the broader initiative and goals described above by bringing together diverse stakeholders, from within Africa and beyond, who are experts in their areas.
Around 90 participants from predominantly African government, business, academia, and non-governmental organisations explored a set of issues of vital concern to the future of agriculture in Africa, and to Africa’s development agenda. The group devised the conceptual framework within which a new agricultural development agenda in Africa can be set and implemented, and recommended specific actions.
A set of African regional meetings will follow the conference and seminar. These subsequent events will refine ideas and recommendations for policy adjustments, streamlining practice, and creating strategic alliances, finally leading to an action plan that is based both on the priority issues and grounded in the realities of the African context(s).