Coffee beans

African agriculture is key to prosperity

Oslo, May 07, 2010
Yara CEO Jørgen Ole Haslestad attends the World Economic Forum on Africa in Dar es Salaam, where political and business leaders discuss African development.
Jørgen Ole Haslestad (Copyright: WEF)

Around one thousand leaders from more than 80 countries were gathered in Dar es Salaam during the first week of May 2010 to discuss the drive for economic growth in Africa.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Yara International Jørgen Ole Haslestad, said his role as WEF Co-Chair was to make sure agriculture was prominently covered in Dar es Salaam.

He believes that agriculture needs to, and can, become a driver of development in Africa. “In the longer-term Africa has the potential not only to feed its own populations, but with its huge land and rich resources to become a bread basket in a global economy.”

In Dar es Salaam, Jørgen Haslestad outlined an alliance of global companies which have committed to support the government of Tanzania's Kilimo Kwanza ("Agriculture First") initiative.

At the invitation of the government of Tanzania, the companies agreed to join a working group comprised of global and local business, government, farmers, NGOs, donor agencies and other key stakeholders. The group would work to develop an investment blueprint for agriculture, with an initial focus on the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania.

In addition, the group would investigate opportunities for public-private partnerships. Yara has long been an advocate of this approach. Yara's idea for an Agricultural Growth Corridors was unveiled at the Private Sector Forum at the United Nations General Assembly in 2008, and this plan to improve food security and economic growth through public-private partnerships was aired again by Yara at an earlier World Economic Forum in Davos.

Yara is also one of the drivers of the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF), seeking to catalyze investments and increase cooperation to drive development of African agriculture. In September 2010 Ghana hosted the first Africa-based conference for AGRF. Behind the initiative were AGRA (Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa), Yara International (who hosted the first African Green Revolution Conference in Oslo, Norway, in 2006), Nepad and Standard Bank.


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