Continental Research Institutions Urged to Engage in Infrastructure and Trade-related Market Access Research
Nairobi, 27 July 2011 – Experts on infrastructure and market access urged research organizations including the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) among others, to engage in evidence-based infrastructure and trade-related market access research to support rural development in Africa. The call was made during a meeting at the African Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) from 25 to 27 July 2011, in Nairobi, Kenya.
The meeting brought together, over 20 participants drawn from AU Member States, Civil Society Organisations, Private Sector, Farmers’ Organisations, Pan African bodies and Academic institutions.
Organized by the African Union Commission in collaboration with the Conference of Ministers of Agriculture for West and Central Africa (CMAOC) the workshop was holding in preparation of the first conference of Ministers in charge of Rural Infrastructure and Market Access scheduled for 21-24 November 2011 in Kigali, Rwanda.
Speaking on behalf of the Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture of the AUC, Prof. Ahmed El Sawalhy, Director of AU IBAR underscored the role of rural infrastructure in reducing poverty and enhancing food and nutrition security as well as improving access to services. He decried past and recent development agendas that more often than not exclude agriculture-related processes from rural infrastructure which affects growth in trade, discourages investment, increases production costs and stiff competition for smallholder farmers. Director Sawalhy urged the participants to look at infrastructure in a more holistic manner and continue to work together under common frameworks in order to build synergies and innovations.
The workshop was moderated by Dr. Janet Edeme, Acting Head of Rural Economy Division of the AUC Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture.
Worth noting that, the Ministerial Conference in November will hold under the Theme: Improving rural infrastructure to raise competitiveness of Africa’s agricultural sector and to develop rural markets. In preparation of this Conference, the output of the Experts in the three-day workshop included reviewing and validating the concept note for the Conference, the Terms of Reference for the Ministerial Conference Expert Task Force Group and Steering Committee in addition to drawing a concrete Road Map leading to the Conference.
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