African Union experts, partners highlight role of the private sector in the CAADP implementation process

The 13th Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) Partnership Platform of the African Union held in Kampala, Uganda from 31st May to 2nd June, 2017 highlighted the potential of the youth, the private sector and vehicles like agribusiness incubation in transforming African agriculture.

The lead panel at the breakout session on “Tools, instruments and mechanisms for private sector involvement in agricultural value chains” for the 13th CAADP PP in Kampala, Uganda.

Why increase private sector participation

This year’s Partnership Platform was preceded by key pre-event meetings including one for the CAADP Non State Actors’ Coalition (CNC) whose outputs were presented by among others, Kopep Dabugat the CNC Coordinator and Dr Cris Muyunda the Vice President.

“The role of non-state actors organised in women, youth or farmers’ groups in the realisation of the targets of the Malabo Declaration is a major one and the CNC members are working with the guidelines for engagement in the CAADP implementation process.”- Kopep Dabugat, CNC Coordinator.

According to Dr Muyunda the increased participation of such groups and the private sector as a whole enhances evidence-based monitoring and also allows for knowledge sharing with those who are actively involved in agribusiness to influence policy.

“In a country like Uganda, supplementing public sector investment in agribusiness with input from the private sector and initiatives for de-risking the sector to ease operations by financial institutions is what we are counting on to push business-oriented development and covert the 67% that are engaged in subsistence agriculture to agribusiness.”- Edward Katende, CEO of the Uganda Agribusiness Alliance (UAA).

The Private Sector and the African Union Agribusiness Strategy

To further explore the role of the private sector in the CAADP process the African Union organised a breakout session on “Tools, instruments and mechanisms for private sector involvement in agricultural value chains” with more revelations.

“The agribusiness framework of the African Union was designed to guide investment in agribusiness at country level and is based on partnerships, including those with the private sector and their integration in the National Agriculture Investment Plans (NAIP’s).”-William Asiko, Grow Africa representative to the event panel.

William Asiko, Grow Africa

Dr Nalishebo Meebelo from the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition at the African Union Commission hinted on the framework’s unique target of the private sector.

“A lot was achieved in the first 10 years of the CAADP process since the Malabo Declaration was made. The framework is a tool that will enhance private sector participation and bring even more hope to the CAADP implementation process in Africa.”- Dr Nalishebo Meebelo Senior Coordinator of the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition at the African Union Commission.

Dr Nalishebo Meebelo Senior Coordinator of the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition at the African Union Commission.

According to Geoffrey Kirenga from the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT) the creation of multi-stakeholder platforms, which SAGCOT has been implementing since 2013 is a tested means of increasing private sector participation.

“We are operating within partnership between public and private sector with clusters based on geographical locations and through contractual arrangements to make farmers and the private sector more involved. We believe that effective partnerships have to contribute to food security, run in a sustainable way and allow small holder farmers to participate. Such focus makes it easier to also increase farmers’ access to technologies including seed, fertilisers and market linkages.” Geoffrey Kirenga, SAGCOT.

According to Dr Alex Ariho, CEO of the African Agribusiness Incubators Network (AAIN) that was represented at the breakout session, the private sector in Africa requires increased dialogue with governments and other stakeholders aimed at making the investment environment more conducive and less risky.