High Level Conference on Development of Agribusiness & Agro-Industries in Africa (HLCD-3A)
Abuja, Nigeria, 8-10 March 2010
With the support of the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which will host the event in Abuja, Nigeria from 8-10 March 2010, and under the auspices of the African Union (AU), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)agencies, in cooperation with the African Development Bank (AfDB) and other partners, propose to hold a High-Level Conference on Development of Agribusiness and Agro-Industries in Africa (HLCD-3A).
Attainment of a significant level of economic development to lift the majority of the population out of poverty remains one of the most pressing challenges in Africa. Despite the relatively good economic performance of several African countries in the past few years, poverty, hunger and malnutrition remain high. In addition, a formidable unemployment challenge persists in the continent, particularly among the growing youth population which could constitute as high as 60% of the 1.3 billion population projected by the United Nations for Africa by 2020. More recently, the crisis of soaring food prices coupled with the international financial predicaments have further exacerbated these problems, encumbering the quest to reach the Millennium Development Goals in the continent.
FAO, UNIDO and IFAD advocate that agribusiness and agro-industries, with their strong forward and backward linkages, should be fostered as a conduit to promote demand for and add value to primary agricultural production, thus creating employment and income along the processing-distribution chains and engendering socio-economic development.
The three UN agencies together with the Government of India organized a global forum on the development of competitive agro-industries in April 2008. With a view to raise awareness, exchange information, consider strategies and promote partnerships for future action, the Global Agro-Industries Forum (GAIF) brought together over 500 senior-level participants including policy makers from national governments, food industry leaders, United Nations (UN) technical agencies’ representatives, civil society organizations and agro-industry specialists. The Forum agreed on a shared vision on the critical issues for the future development of agro-industries, the key factors affecting their competitiveness and potential action areas.
In June 2008, FAO hosted in Rome the High Level Conference on World Food Security: The Challenges of Climate Change and Bioenergy (HLC). The HLC’s final declaration highlighted the urgent need to promote investments in agribusiness and rural development, from both private and public sources, as one way of tackling the problems that FAO member countries face due to rapidly changing food prices and their implications on food security.
As a follow-up to the commitments made by the UN agencies during both GAIF and HLC, and given the food security threats resulting from rapidly changing food prices and the international financial crisis, UNIDO, FAO and IFAD have identified the need to convene the high-level conference in 2010 to promote the development of agribusiness and agro-industries in the African continent.