Public Private Partnerships crucial to transforming agriculture, African Union Commission
The African Union Commission through its Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture is exploring ways of implementing successful agribusiness Public Private Partnerships to catalyse investments in agribusiness development on the continent.
This is part of the Commission’s strategic plan to strengthen the agribusiness PPP collaboration as part of the goals to enhance private sector participation and investment in meeting the AU Malabo Declaration commitments.
This, through analyzing and validating country agribusiness PPP reports to improve understanding about the design, implementation and impact of agri-PPPs case studies from 8 African countries that include Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda and Zambia. Consequently, the commission will present the findings from the studies, agree on how the knowledge can inform policy-makers to design and implement effective agri-PPPs.
Studies have shown that agri-PPPs have the potential to help transform the production-oriented agricultural sector of African countries towards a more market-oriented, modernized agri-food sector.
Reported benefits include improved farmer-market linkages and employment creation in rural areas and cities. However, many unanswered questions remain about the types of projects that may be effectively governed by the public-private partnership (PPP) mechanism in the agri-food sector.
“Successful agri-PPPs include the measures which address the needs of our youth and women involved in the various segments of the agricultural value chain, supporting and facilitating preferential entry and participation for women and youth in gainful and attractive agri-business opportunities, as captured in the Malabo Declaration,” said Dr. Janet Edeme, AUC Head of Division for Rural Economy, at an AUC organized conference.
She explained that the AUC was exploring ways of how to better involve the private sector in the implementation of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) and also to respond to the commitments of the Malabo Declaration which, appropriately emphasizes the need to support private sector investment to complement public sector efforts in addressing the investment gaps in the agriculture sector.
“In this regard, the Commission developed and launched the Continental Agribusiness Strategy last year which provides the overarching framework for agribusiness transformation on the continent,” Dr. Edeme said.
Also speaking at the ceremony, FAO Kenya Agribusiness Officer, Mr. Tito Arunga reiterated that the continent has the potential of producing enough food once efforts to improve income earning opportunities are given more prominence.
"We need to ensure that our food systems become efficient, resilient and inclusive in order to produce food in excess for domestic consumption," he said.
Against a background of limited government resources, innovative partnerships that bring together business, government, smallholder farmers and civil society actors are increasingly being promoted as a mechanism for pooling financing, technology know-how, increasing efficiency and mitigating the risks of doing business in the agrifood sector.