Brussels, 30 September 2013/CTA/ACP: The 33rd Brussels Briefings session this Wednesday 2 October will bring together researchers, politicians and experts to discuss the topic ‘Agriculture: a driving force for economic and social transformation in Africa.’

No country has been able to sustain a rapid transition out of poverty without raising productivity in its agricultural sector. Agriculture continues to be the predominant source of employment in many regions, accounting for 63 % of rural household income in Africa, 62 % in Asia, 50 % in Europe and 56 % in Latin America. However, the sector’s share of GDP in Africa is much smaller, accounting for an average of 25%, indicating its relatively low level of productivity and earnings.

Many challenges exist for African agriculture, such as food price spikes, inadequately exploited land and water, rising energy and fertilizer prices and the impact of climate change. Financial markets and rural finance institutions are weak while progress in science and technology is inadequate due to persistent lack of funding. Competitive output and input markets have lagged, and services for smallholders remain poor.

At the same time, progress can be reached under the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) endorsed by African Heads of State and Government, which provides a common policy framework for agriculture development in Africa. African governments agreed to allocate at least 10% of national budgetary resources to agriculture and rural development. Research highlights that in the short- to medium-term, regional markets offer the most promising opportunities.

At Borchette Congress Centre in Brussels, speakers will discuss positive trends and needed drivers for sustained growth in the sector. A second panel will present proven actions and best practices based on the successes of CAADP in the last 10 years. It will highlight successes which can be upscaled or replicated.

Panellists include ODI researcher in Agricultural Development and Policy Steve Wiggins, Head of the NEPAD Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme Martin Bwalya, Principal Secretary at the Kenya Ministry of Industrialization and Enterprise Development Wilson Songa, CEO of Zed Group Ltd Hans Balyamujura, Director for Africa, International Food Policy Research Institute Ousmane Badiane, ROPPA (West Africa) Executive Secretary Kalilou Sylla, and CEO of Private Enterprise Federation (Ghana) Nana Osei-Bonsu.

The Brussels Briefings is an initiative of the ACP-EU Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Development (CTA), organised jointly with the European Commission, ACP Secretariat, and Concord group to raise awareness on key issues and challenges for rural development in the context of ACP-EU cooperation.

For more information and to follow the meetings live online, visit:

– CTA/ ACP Press