04 October 2016

Mahama to grace Pan African Agribusiness Conference

president-mahamaAs Africa continues to claim its position as the world’s fastest growing economy, experts from across the continent and beyond are set to meet in Accra, Ghana for the second Pan African conference on agribusiness incubation.

The high level 3 day event is set to take place from the 4th to the 6th of October at the International Conference Centre in the Ghanaian capital under the theme “Turning Science into Business: Inclusive Agribusiness Incubation for vibrant economies in Africa.”

Among the delegates expected is His Excellency John Dramani Mahama the President of Ghana who will be joined by among others, Her Excellency Rhoda Peace Tumusiime the African Union Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Economy, former Ghanaian Presidents John Agyekum Kufuor and Dr. Ahmed Yakubu Alhassan as well as Dr. Akinwumi Adesina the President of the African Development Bank.

These are part of the team that will also include experienced business experts, private sector and global organisations and a cross section of agricultural experts and Ministers from around the world.

Pushing a continental agenda, exploring incubation

At the centre of discussion, will be the opportunities in agribusiness incubation that Africa should benefit from in the short and long term.

What is incubation?

According to Dr Alex Ariho, the Chief Executive Officer of the African Agribusiness Incubators Network (AAIN) that is convening the conference, incubation is a process through which business ideas are nurtured into economically viable businesses.

“In incubation, the people with the agribusiness ideas or existing businesses are enabled to achieve self-sustaining businesses on an even larger scale of production. The services that are provided to make that possible are given by institutions called incubators and those who go to get the services are called incubatees,” he says.

Ariho explains that AAIN is a network of incubators with a continental presence that offers incubation to incubators for jobs and wealth creation.

“In Africa today, we have a major challenge of unemployment and relatively high level of poverty. We also have many youth who form 60% of the unemployed people here. On top of that, we have between 10 and 12 million young people who enter the job market every year. Incubation is one of the means of redeeming the situation and creating entrepreneurs in agribusiness,” he adds.

Debating solutions to business failure.

According to Prof Henry Bwisa the Board Chairperson at AAIN, Africa’s efforts to create jobs are hindered by the high rate of failure of enterprises. “90% of start-ups fail due to poor business planning, limited capacity on how to manage business, financial constraints and limited access to the market,” Prof Bwisa says.

Bwisa however says that this can be turned around by engaging the youth through incubation.

“We must excite the youths to see agriculture as a viable business. Africa must add value to all its staple foods, move up the value chain of wealth, diversify its economies, expand foreign exchange earnings and reduce food import bills thereby boosting fiscal and macroeconomic stability of countries. Incubation is designed to improve the odds of survival and significantly reduce the time from idea to market,” he says.

Now is the time-AU Commissioner

Her Excellency Rhoda Peace Tumusiime the African Union Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Economy is one of the high-level delegates confirmed to participate this year’s event.

“Time has come when Africa must embrace technology and innovations for growth and transformation. The incubation model focussing on youth and women is one sure way of getting an all-inclusive development trajectory delivering on Agenda 2063,” Tumusiime says.

Source: African Agribusiness Incubators Network (AAIN)

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