African Farming held its inaugural Agroinvestment Summit in London in June 2018. The event welcomed stakeholders from across Africa's farming sector such as government officials and representatives, importers, distributors, agribusiness owners, C-level executives from food companies, trade union members, and manufacturers and suppliers of agricultural equipment, machinery and services.
The two-day summit explored three essential areas: the achievement of integrated finance for African agricultural development via cross-border partnership among financial institutions; how to harness processing and packaging opportunities via public-private partnerships for agro-development; and the future trading and relationships between African countries and beyond. When exploring these subjects, there was also a strong focus on the role of women in African agriculture and in encouraging young people to see agriculture as a viable career path.
Speakers included Panos Varangis, Global Lead, Agricultural Finance and Agricultural Insurance, Finance, Competitiveness and Innovation, Global Practice, World Bank Group; His Excellency Kabiru Bala, Deputy High Commissioner of Nigeria; Andrew McCoubrey, Head of the Trade and Development for UK Department for International Development; Josef Schmidhuber, Deputy Director, trade and Market Division, Economic and Social Development Department, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and Emmanuel Doni-Kwame, Secretary General, International Chamber of Commerce.
Day one of the summit focused mostly on the importance of technology in the African agriculture, with presentations on digital opportunities in agriculture; opportunities for digital growth; and how technology can help African farmers scale up their business, become more efficient and have better access to markets for their produce. Whilst the panel discussion themes were "attracting foreign investment", and "developing the next generation of agripreneurs".
The second day of the summit opened with a presentation about access to finance and how agricultural development will make a lasting impact on the local economy in Ghana. Other presentations, such as the shared solution for agri-businesses in the continent, and importance of water management and smart water usage and control, built on the themes of the first day of the summit. The panel discussion, focusing on Sustainability and the issues of improving rural infrastructure, boosting productivity and creating employment opportunities.
Overall, the inaugural summit was a successful introduction to the important topic of agriculture in Nigeria, bringing together investors, government and leading SMEs to discuss, debate and connect.