Grow Africa is a partnership platform that seeks to accelerate investments and transformative change in African agriculture based on national agricultural priorities and in support of the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme, also known as CAADP. CAADP is a program of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, which was established by the African Union in 2003. The end goal of the program is to create sustainable growth in each country.
Grow Africa has several concrete goals they are striving to achieve. The first is to increase private sector investments in African agriculture through investment blueprints, strengthening cross-sector collaboration, and building a pipeline of investments. The second is to enable stakeholder partnerships by developing partnerships to attract investment in initiatives that complement national agriculture sector strategies. And the third is to expand knowledge and awareness of the best practices and existing initiatives. They are working to strengthen investor interest in agriculture by building increased trust and shared commitment.
Six core elements guide Grow Africa’s initiatives. The first is leadership and alignment by public leaders and policy shapers as well as a platform for active co-creation by the private and public sector and civil society members. Second is strategy and priorities defined by what is best for each country and what coincides with the country’s national strategy. The third is investment and entrepreneurship pipeline through bankable investment opportunities, and engagement of groups and organizations to participate in opportunities. Fourth is finance and risk management including risk reduction mechanisms to catalyze investment. Fifth are improvements to hard and soft infrastructure, policy and regulations and human institutional capacity. And finally, there is an additional focus on designing, managing and monitoring the hard and soft infrastructure projects in place.
An example of one of Grow Africa’s initiatives is the Rwanda food basket initiative. Rwanda is working to become a destination for agri-business investment. Rwanda is creating opportunities in the form of a food basket approach that is based on priority commodity value-chains located in highly specific geographic areas. This initiative is directly correlated with Rwanda’s agricultural development strategy, which is aimed at tackling poverty and improving food security. This project enables the environment and infrastructure developed by the government. It is designed to directly access key growth markets for Rwandan produce.
The second example of a Grow Africa initiative is Ethiopia’s agricultural growth project. Ethiopia is working towards transforming its agriculture into a sustainable market-led sector, which would lead to improved food security, environmental conservation, gender inclusion and equity, and contribute to improved middle-income status by 2020. The program is coordinated and implemented by the Agricultural Transformation Agency. They are charged with creating an enabling environment, improving industry structure, and engaging the private sector, as well as increasing productivity of smallholder farms, improving frontline extension quality and scaling irrigation and better land management.