The Kosmos Innovation Centre (KIC) and its partners have hosted an Agricultural Innovation for Africa (AIA) Conference, a platform that ignites transformational dialogue to share insights on propelling food security and innovation within Ghana’s vibrant agribusiness sector for youth and agri-MSMEs.
The inaugural AIA conference, held under the theme ‘Empowering Youth Start-ups & Agri-MSMEs: Advancing Food Security through Innovation & Collaboration’, gathered a multitude of distinguished decision-makers, thought leaders, industry stakeholders, and professionals with the shared goal of addressing critical agricultural challenges across Ghana and the broader African landscape.
In his welcome address, Benjamin Gyan-Kesse, Executive Director for KIC, underscored the importance of adopting agri-technology and empowering youth start-ups within the agricultural value chains to contribute significantly toward the continent’s development.
“A key objective of this conference is to promote and drive youth involvement in agriculture and the entire agribusiness value chain for that matter. By nurturing a transformative dialogue that champions the role of youth start-ups and agri-MSMEs in shaping the future of agribusiness, the conference has set a remarkable precedent for future endeavours in the field,” he stated.
On his part, Yaw Frimpong Addo, Deputy Minister for Food and Agriculture – Crops, emphasised government’s commitment to fostering an environment conducive to agricultural innovation and sustainable growth, especially for youth start-ups and Agri-MSMEs.
“As a ministry, we are committed to the vision of ensuring a modernised agriculture culminating in a structurally transformed economy and evident in food security, employment opportunities and reduced poverty. Young people and Agri-MSMEs will play a critical role in this regard. Our programmes and strategies have been developed to ensure particular attention is paid to youth-led start-ups and Agri-MSMEs,” he added.
In his remarks, the Board Chair of KIC, Joe Mensah, highlighted the need for collaboration in the agricultural sector while harnessing local knowledge, technology and sustainability by focusing on the opportunity the Agricultural Innovation for Africa Conference provides, especially for young people.
The two-day conference provided a platform for a series of panel discussions on reshaping the trajectory of African agriculture. Notable discussions encompassed promoting an enabling ecosystem for digitalised agriculture and innovation in Africa, analysing the impact of governmental policies on the growth and sustainability of Agri-MSMEs and youth-led start-ups, gender mainstreaming in Agriculture, and delving into the efficacy of financial support programmes for agri-businesses. Others include the role of standardization and certification in promoting agri-business in the local and international markets, as well as the role of mechanization in agriculture.
KIC’s dedication to creating a forum for meaningful dialogue and the exchange of ideas is evident through the resounding success of the conference’s maiden edition. The event not only catalysed discussions, but also planted the seeds for actionable strategies to enhance food security and elevate the approach to African agriculture, with a united focus on innovation, collaboration and sustainable growth.
The second day of the conference also hosted a Deal Room, where agribusiness pitched their businesses to potential investors. More than 30 agribusinesses, including KIC start-ups, also participated in the exhibition that was organised as part of the conference.
This maiden edition of the Agricultural Innovation for Africa Conference was supported by Kosmos Energy, ITC, IDH, Agra, Absa, RMG, Blue Skies, Ceres, Voltic, among others. Media partners for the event include Joy FM, My Joy online, Joy News, Global Media Alliance and its partners Happy FM and Y Fm.