TICAD7 Plenary 2: Accelerating economic transformation and improving business environment through innovation and private sector engagement

Yokohama, Japan

Thank you Chairman.

Your Excellencies, I am delighted to share with you our achievements of the agricultural development in Africa for more than three decades.

In 1986, together with the former US President Jimmy Carter and Nobel Laureate Dr. Norman Borlaug, The Nippon Foundation established the Sasakawa Africa Association. You may be thinking: “why starting with agriculture? ” About 70% of the population in Africa are farmers. We trusted that Africa would grow with the development of agriculture.

In doing so, we created a model to work with agriculture extension agents of governments. Through this, millions of smallholder farmers in 16 countries were taught advanced techniques. We also offered higher education courses for more than 6,500 mid-career extension agents in 26 universities in Africa.

Agriculture in Africa has changed a lot in the last 30 years. Today we are focusing more on agricultural value-chain in addition to food production. In our program, groups of young people are already involved in the value-chain. They got together to offer their services to local farmers using post-harvest machinery. It will be the younger generation in Africa who will be the major players to take agriculture onto a new era.

Your excellencies, please be mindful of what agriculture can offer. It will increase employment and business opportunities and become an attractive career for the youth.

I firmly believe that agriculture will lead Africa to become a future-minded continent with hopes and dreams.

Thank you very much.

(*) TICAD7: The Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development