The African Development Bank’s Special Agro-Industrial Transformation Zone (SAPZ) initiative can trigger fundamental change in Africa’s economic transformation, participants at the first agro-industrial partnership meeting said on Monday. industrialization.
The gathering brought together representatives from development finance institutions, private developers of special economic zones and other key global and regional actors in the African agri-food sector to share their ideas on how agro-industrialization can create opportunities. massive employment opportunities, boost agricultural productivity, generate wealth and improve the quality of life for people across the continent. The participants agreed to work together in a cooperative framework for the implementation of SAPZ in Africa, under the leadership of the African Development Bank.
“The value of the agrifood sector is expected to reach $ 1 trillion by 2030 … Those of us working in the economic zones sector will work closely with the African Development Bank initiative on this huge opportunity, ”said Ahmed Bennis, Secretary General, Organization of African Economic Zones.
Three Vice Presidents of the African Development Bank addressed the virtual meeting, detailing the Bank’s strategy to increase employment opportunities and income generation through SAPZ.
“The stakes are extremely high: during this week of the United Nations Summit on Food Systems, we, actors in Africa’s growth and development, must form a common vision on a roadmap towards agro -industrialization on the continent, ”said Dr Beth Dunford, Bank Director Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development.
“At the African Development Bank, we believe that turnkey projects, such as special agro-industrial processing zones, are crucial for development. They bring the ecosystem together in regional value chains and key raw materials, bringing together production, and processing to feed growing African cities and export to the world in a sustainable, green and affordable way, ”she said. added.
SAPZs are intended to focus on agrifood activities in areas with high agricultural potential. They allow farmers, agricultural producers, processors, aggregators and distributors to work together in one place, reducing transaction costs and sharing business development services to boost productivity and competitiveness.
Bank Vice President for Private Sector, Infrastructure and Industrialization at the Bank Solomon Quaynor said, “If we are to create jobs, we must enable the private sector to thrive. Overall, it is about industrializing Africa.
Dr Kevin Kariuki, Bank Vice President for Power, Energy, Climate and Green Growth, encouraged partners to work together on an implementation model for SAPZs, advocating for renewable energies to ensure optimal benefits.
Closing the session, Prof. Banji Oyelaran-Oyeyinka, Special Advisor on Industrialization to the President of the African Development Bank, said the experiences and commitment shared by participants were valuable ingredients for a cooperative framework that would ensure high-level leadership and inter-agency coordination. The framework would also ensure that each area attracts the right investment, is implemented to high standards, and avoids unpredictable risks such as political setbacks.
The main financiers and developers present at the session included: the African Import-Export Bank; Industrial development company; African finance company; Bank of Commerce and Development; OPEC Fund for International Development; Africa 50; West African Development Bank; Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa; Islamic Development Bank and International Fund for Agricultural Development.