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Africa Union Summit showcases common African Agro Parks (CAAPs) initiative

The African Union Members States, the Regional Economic Communities, the United Nations (FAO, UNIDO, ECA), and Development Partners converged to discuss the implementation and financing modalities for the establishment of the Common African Agro-Parks (CAAPs). The event took place on the margins of the ongoing AU Summit on Industrialization and Economic Diversification, in Niamey, Niger, under the theme: “The Common African Agro-Parks (CAAPs) as a vehicle for attracting private investments in establishing transboundary mega agro-industrial hubs on the continent,” within the framework of the Comprehensive African Agricultural Programme (CAADP) and the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063.

In her opening remarks, H.E. Amb. Josefa Sacko, the AUC Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy, and Sustainable Environment (ARBE), stated that the creation of five large agro-industrial zones, one in each region of Africa, will serve as major agricultural development hubs for the continent. The CAAPs were adopted by the Ministers of Agriculture in October 2019 to boost the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). Amb. Sacko further reiterated that “there is no more time to waste for more speeches. It is rather a time to stimulate private and public investment in the agro-industries; and unleash the existing strong potential of the African capital market, such as pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, and private equity funds of African business personalities.”

Likewise, H.E. Amb. Albert M. Muchanga, the AUC Commissioner, Economic Development, Trade, Industry, and Mining (ETIM), emphasized that a five-year business plan for the Agricultural sector in Africa is imperative as he alluded to the sentiments of H.E. Amb. Josefa Sacko that food items should no longer be on the list of importations in Africa.

The strongest slant during the side event was, “no more talk! It is time for action! Africa can no longer rely on its neighbors to build its own granary!” positioned  Dr. Yemi Akinbamijo, the Executive Director of the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa. Therefore, the Common African Agro-Parks (CAAPs) Programme is a mega-initiative aimed at creating regional agro-industrial hubs implemented by the African Union.

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