Given the tremendous economic potential of Africa’s agribusiness sector, the US-Africa Chamber of Commerce hosted a panel discussion, “Africa’s Agribusiness Revolution” in June, on the challenges and opportunities of doing business in agriculture in Africa at their quarterly panel symposium.
IGD President Mima Nedelcovych moderated the panel, where small business leaders offered insight into how American small businesses can enter the African market and partner with African small- and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). Panelists also explored agricultural production and export and technological innovations in farming.
Nedelcovych stressed that the panel discussion could not have come at a better time. “Currently, African SMEs in the agriculture sector are mushrooming, and they are seeking partners in the U.S. with technological know how and a willingness to share risks,” said Nedelcovych. “While American small businesses are looking to enter the large African market, but need the insight and expertise from African agribusinesses.”
He reinforced the idea that agriculture must be viewed as a business, not a vocation, echoing the African Development Bank’s strategy on transforming the African agriculture sector.
The panel delved into how private businesses, regional organizations and national governments can work together to boost agricultural production and export, and how those businesses can leverage local or international investment resources to improve competitiveness.
The panelists emphasized the significance of new technologies in fostering change in agribusiness, yet also drew attention to pros and cons of using technologies in the agriculture sector.
Dr. Nedelcovych noted that agribusiness leaders are increasingly turning to local transport resources to prevent post-harvest losses in Africa. He said some agribusinesses are using Uber, a cab hire service, for agricultural transport, pointing out that the platform is helping to move fresh agricultural and horticulture products to markets faster.