By Mohammed Momoh
Nigeria is to host the forthcoming “African Economic Conference (AEC) 2016” designed to brainstorm on the current economic policies on the continent.
The conference which would hold in Abuja from December 5 to December 7, has as its theme, “ Feeding Africa: Towards Agro-Allied Industrialization for Inclusive Growth’’.
It is jointly organized by the African Development Bank (AfDB), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Tagged “ AEC 2016’’, the conference would provide an opportunity to discuss Africa’s agricultural transformation.
The conference would embrace presentations on the latest “empirical evidence on how to leverage agro-industrialization for feeding Africa and promoting inclusive growth’’.
According to AfDB, the conference will provide opportunity for critical thinking on how policy-makers, development partners, the private sector, civil society organizations and the academia should support the planning and implementation of these industrialization strategies.
“ Papers accepted for presentation will comprise original work not previously published.’’
Meanwhile, the Board of Directors of the AfDB has approved Senegal’s Country Strategy Paper for 2016-2020.
The new strategy focuses on support to agricultural transformation, and strengthening of energy and transport infrastructure to increase production and improve competitiveness.
As part of a $1.4-billion pledge, the Bank’s Board approved US $48.4 million for 2016 to support the country’s Emerging Senegal Plan (Plan Sénégal Emergent) and boost local development.
AfDB had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Sasakawa Africa Association (SAA) to promote agriculture and agri-business in Africa.
The MOU was signed on August 27, 2016, during the Sasakawa Symposium on “Contributing to Social Security and Jobs through Agriculture: 30 years of Sasakawa in Africa”.
It was held at the Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI) in Nairobi, Kenya.
Under the MOU, the AfDB and SAA will collaborate on commercialisation of smallholder agriculture and food security; gender empowerment for better participation in economic development; private sector development; as well as youth engagement in agribusiness.
Already the Bank is rolling out its ENABLE (Empowering Novel Agri-Business Led Employment) Youth initiative, in partnership with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA).
The program seeks to bolster youth entrepreneurship in agriculture and agri-business.
The initiative will see the Bank train the next generation of agriculture entrepreneurs, also referred to as ‘agripreneurs’ in several countries, and provide them with seed money through banks to finance their business plans.
The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) is Africa’s premier development finance institution.
It comprises three distinct entities: the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Development Fund (ADF) and the Nigeria Trust Fund (NTF).
On the ground in 34 African countries with an external office in Japan, the AfDB contributes to the economic development and the social progress of its 54 regional member states.