By Daniel Sabiiti
Rwandan president Paul Kagame has asked African leaders to come up with ways of connecting the agricultural sector within other priority sector so as to come up with tangible results in the sector which accounts for over 90 livelihoods on the continent.
One of the ways Kagame suggested is to have the involvement of the community in evaluating the targets set by policy makers- which is done at the end of the year through the annual performance contract evaluation process locally known as ‘Imihigo’.
“Part of the Rwandan practice of having signing performance contracts in which the results of performance in agriculture are ranked at all levels and this is evaluated with peer benefits which have worked for us” Kagame told the Africa Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) in Nairobi this Wednesday.
Kagame noted that this has, among other aspects helped in the Rwandan situation where 70 percent of population in agriculture now contributes to 31 percent of Gross domestic product-GDP.
Food security took center stage at the meeting and President Kagame alongside his Kenyan Counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta, said there must be involvement of all key players especially the youth and private sector, to make agriculture more interesting and financeable.
Kenyatta said even when there has been necessary steps taken by government there has not been necessary focus that will propel the sector and suggested that the exclusion of the private sector has affected government efforts.
“We need to work together with private sector and think of ways of getting finance, because innovation alone without finance is nothing. This will create employment opportunity and business. So I am asking for a greater partnership to create food security and better future for the young people on the continent” Kenyatta said.
Kagame supported the idea of Kenyatta and said involving everyone in the sector which is of benefit to all- there is a lot of value chain in agriculture and the best way to deal with this is to interlink agriculture in all sectors.
“Agriculture is everywhere we are talking about. All we need is to make that potential materialize in benefit and business but all different players involved. We all know what to do, so let just do it,” Kagame said.
Kagame also stated that to continue the momentum of success of the green revolution in Africa, agriculture should be linked to the broader sense of other priority sectors in our economies.
Kenyattta said that angle in which agriculture should be seen is one of a business and creation of wealth not just peasant and partnerships especially from financial institutions must come on board to ensure this.
Upfront, in support of this move the Kenya Commercial Bank Group announced a $350million of additional loans earmarked investing in agriculture in the next financial year to the effect.
The pledge was made by Kenya Commercial Bank Group CEO, Joshua Oigara who also was moderator of the panel that included Presidents Kagame and Kenyatta.
AGRF is a high-level meeting organized by Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). It attracted over 1500 delegates drawn across the world among policymakers, investors and researchers.
They are seeking to advance policies and to secure investments that will ensure a better life for millions of Africa’s farmers and families.