Tony Elumelu, Chairman of Heirs
Holdings, the United Bank for Africa and Founder of The Tony Elumelu Foundation
has called on African governments and donors to treat the agricultural sector
in Africa as a commercially viable sector with a potential to create millions of
jobs and dollars in revenue.


Tony Elumelu, Chairman, UBA Plc 

The African Business leader and Philanthropist, who stated this while
delivering the keynote address to agribusiness investors and stakeholders at
The Global Food Security Symposium in Washington, DC, said agriculture should
not be seen as a social welfare program, rather African farmers should be treated
as entrepreneurs as governments create the enabling environment for MSMEs to
access finance.
Organised by the Chicago Council on
Global Affairs on April 26th 2016, the event, which gathered a host of
multi-disciplinary stakeholders in agriculture and food business, including
Elumelu – a member of The Aspen Institute Global Food Security Strategy Group –
presented a platform to discuss transformations in the global food system
necessary to feed growing cities.
Speaking from an African standpoint,
Elumelu advocated for public and private sector collaboration, recommending the
adoption of an Africapitalist approach to achieve the transformation and growth
needed to meet the increasing demand for safe and sustainable food.
Africapitalism promotes the private sector’s commitment to Africa’s development
through long-term investment in strategic sectors of the economy that create
economic prosperity and social wealth.
“If the public and private sector work
together in shared purpose, we will be able to retain the desired knowledge and
manpower in rural areas in order to support agriculture. We will also be able to
control the rate of urbanisation, because we would have made it possible for
our young people to earn a good living and grow their businesses right where
they were born and raised as agro-allied entrepreneurs,” he added.
On the private sector responsibilities,
he advocated for large investments that promote mechanized farming and
processing as well as capital to partner with the government to provide key
infrastructure supportive of sustained growth in the agriculture sector. “I
believe that if we transform the agriculture sector, we will transform the
African continent!” said Elumelu.
He concluded by appealing to the U.S. government for a decisive
congressional action to reform emergency food assistance by providing
USAID with the flexibility to ship or purchase food regionally to avoid
distorting local markets, further impoverishing local small holder farmers in
Africa.  According to him,
flexibility is the right way to approach
food aid that will save more lives
“Food aid must not become an industry.
As an African, I want to appeal to the U.S. Congress
and the next president of the United States to make the correct and courageous
decision in the next re-authorisation of the farm bill to fight famine with
Statistics reveal that an estimated
6.3billion people will live in urban cities by 2050 putting a strain on the
supply of safe and sustainable food to feed the population. With multiple
challenges facing small scale farmers and easy access to markets still an
uphill task, the symposium was an avenue for stakeholders to discuss and
recommend specific actions on how to tackle problems of global food security.
The Council also released a major report on action points for the US government
to advance food security in an urban world.
his speech, co-chair of the Global Food and Agriculture Program, Dan Glickman,
stated that action and innovation by the private sector are important to feed
cities. “Feeding the world’s cities is an enormous challenge but also an
enormous opportunity”. 


Other international speakers present at the event
were Doug Bereuter, Co-chair, Global Food and Agriculture Program; Member,
U.S.  Senate, Honourable Jack Reed; and R
ajiv Shah, senior advisor to The Chicago Council on Global
Affairs and a distinguished service professor at Georgetown University’s School
of Foreign Service,

among others.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here