Rwandan President Paul Kagame has stressed the need for more inclusive, sustainable and holistic approaches to the world’s food systems, saying that agriculture and agri-business in Africa are what will drive the attainment of sustainable development goals.
Kagame spoke in Rome on Monday as he was representing African States at the ongoing UN Food Systems Pre-Summit taking from July 26-28. The pre-summit is taking place ahead of the Summit in New York in September.
In his capacity as chair of the African Union Development Agency (Nepad), the Rwandan President led calls for countries to make bold commitments to transforming their food systems.
“Each country and region must chat its own path to transformation, but this is also a global challenge that we must address together,” he said, adding that in Africa majority of the working age population is employed in the agricultural sector.
He said food markets remain fragmented and links to food processing and value addition services are lacking.
Mr Kagame said even though technologies and bio-technologies are increasingly playing a greater role in African agriculture, too many farmers still do not yet have reliable access to financial services and products for farmers, including insurance.
“As a result, Africa’s food producers do not earn the level of income that they deserve and they must cope with high levels of economic risk and uncertainty and transformation is a necessity,” he said.
The UN Food Systems Summit was announced by the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, on World Food Day last October as a part of the Decade of Action for delivery on the SDGs by 2030.
The aim of the Summit is to deliver progress on all 17 of the SDGs through a food systems approach, leveraging the interconnectedness of food systems to global challenges such as hunger, climate change, poverty and inequality.