OPENING PLENARY OF THE AGRF SUMMIT 2022, KIGALI CONVENTION CENTRE, KIGALI, RWANDA. SEPTEMBER 6, 2022.
Right Honourable Edouard Ngirente, Prime Minister of the Republic of Rwanda.
Your Excellency Hailemariam Desalegn, Former Prime Minister of Ethiopia, chair of AGRA and AGRF partners group.
Dear Participants of AGRF 2022
Good morning everyone and a very warm welcome to Rwanda. It has been two long tough years!
We are thrilled to have you here and to welcome you back “home”.
As our first time to host a real in-person AGRF Summit since we became the home country for the AGRF, it is a great pleasure and honour to have you all and we do not take it for granted. Thank you for giving us the honour to be your host.
When Rwanda bid to be the home country for the AGRF in 2019, we did so because we believe in the power of this platform to not only support our national vision, but also the importance of being part of a global community to transform African agriculture and the Africa to be the providers of the food we eat.
That power is in all of you and your institutions, as well as your networks that might not be here with us today, but that share our vision.
This Summit must be an opportunity to deepen our collaboration as we deal with the COVID, CLIMATE and CONFLICT crises and build stronger food systems that get us out of the present crises and for a resilient future.
My role this morning is to not speak in detail but I want to share a few thoughts that used to cross my mind as Minister of Agriculture in Africa as we continued to attend so many great meetings, listening to great speeches but continue to hear more hungry, more malnourished on this continent.
From many scientific findings, it has been confirmed that the planet earth has been shaped to sustain life. And we need to avoid to mess that up.
For every living organism, it has to eat to grow and reproduce for its survival or continuity.
In Africa, we continue to talk about the amount of Land in Africa, youth potential, agribusiness worth or opportunities etc but we have consistently failed to transform these potentials into food reaching the table of every African mouth.
The question then becomes, is it probably that these issues are not hitting the meeting attendees at personal level? Based on my experience, COVID reached us on personal level and I guess that’s why it was possible to transform messenger RNA power that have been in publication and lab note books for the last sixty years into a powerful tool that is now being used in RNA vaccines and likely into RNA therapies to cure complex diseases. I am glad to have noted that this technology is providing solutions for crop protections and we are in discussion with our partners to get these at the farmers’ hands. We have seen that food shortage during COVID lockdowns reached unconventional audience including some of us in the room. I have spoken to wealthy friends from wealthy countries who were worried about the survivals of their young families, we see middle income families worried now by how much their pockets are being drained by the food prices.
The challenge to all of us gathered here, given the crises times that we are in and probably others that will come back again, can we use this Summit this week, to come up with actionable plans on how to get the food at the table of everyone?
Please do feel at home, and I look forward to engaging with you throughout the week. Thank you.