H.E. Graça Machel, former First Lady of South Africa and Mozambique, was the chief guest in a forum on New Faces in Agriculture: African Women in Agribusiness held at Strathmore Business School (SBS) on Wednesday, 4th March, 2015. The forum was organised by AWAN EA, in collaboration with SBS and other institutions and aimed to explore issues on the role and potential of women in agribusiness, including government and private sector participation, the role of research, gender issues, export compliance and finance.
Women can transform our continent, began H.E. Graça Machel. The raison d’être of the forum, she said, was to build an African women movement that would multiply womens faces, amplify their voices, and transform the continent by their participation in its most crucial facets, including agribusiness. We have the responsibility of making sure that every African has at least three meals a day, she declared.
She outlined a four-point roadmap for the emancipation of African women through agribusiness; they should make Africa its own food basket, before making it the food basket of the world; they must trade in food with other African countries, especially those which, due to environmental circumstances, arent able to produce their own food; women in government ought to sit down with other women and solve problems; and, women have to stop being fragmented.
Concluding her speech, she saluted the women in the audience, stating that the identity of the African woman was the excellence seated in the room, and that she was extremely humbled by what she had learnt from them, expressing her hope that they would be able to transform the lessons from the forum into a big change that would occur in waves across the African continent.
In attendance at the forum were Mrs Rosalyn Nandwa, Chief-of-Staff of H.E. Rachel Ruto, Second Lady of Kenya, Hon Sicily Kariuki, Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, and Dr Lusike Wasilwa, researcher at Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (KALRO), among other distinguished women who are experts in various fields pertinent to agribusiness.
The forum exposed the need for focus to be turned to the field of agribusiness, which will prove vital to the food security of the continent. More information about SBSs agribusiness programs can be obtained from Patrick Ndungu through firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pictures from the forum can be viewed here.