Towards creating an enabling environment for grain trade in Africa
Kigali, Rwanda, October 1, 2015 -- On October 1, Rwanda Prime Minister Anastase Muekezi and Rwanda Minister of Trade and Industry Hon Francois Kanimba officially opened the African Grain Trade Summit -- a biennial, high-level, multi-stakeholder event organized by the Eastern Africa Grain Council with support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), through its project the East Africa Trade and Investment Hub, and other partners.
The Summit attracted more than 200 international and African-wide stakeholders from along the grain value chain for discussion on key grain industry issues and developing trends in grain trade on the continent. The summit provided a platform for the public and private sector to agree on mechanisms for enhancing the enabling environment for grain trade in Africa.
Since the first African Grain Trade Summit, held in Nairobi in 2005, stakeholders have successfully advocated for policy interventions that have supported grain trade and improved grain structures. For instance, the African Grain Trade Summit supported the establishment of harmonized grain standards for the East African Community, improvement of warehouse receipting and commodity exchanges, and influenced Tanzania to lift its maize export bans.
The 6th Africa Grain Trade Summit will address the issues that limit trade in grains and staple foods in the eastern Africa region and Africa at large. The focus is on what needs to be done for grain trade to thrive - between producers and traders through to processors and to the final consumers - in an efficient and effective manner that will reduce transaction costs and increase earnings to the value chain actors, while making food affordable to The focus will be technology, information and services. These are some of the major factors hindering the competitiveness and productivity of grain sector value chains in eastern and southern Africa. The 6th AGTS, like previous editions of the summit, aims to gain high-level commitment to improving the policy environment for regional grain trade.
“The Government of Rwanda has been very keen on ensuring that regional trade is improved. We will continue to support the operationalization of the Single Customs Territory through the Northern Corridor and the Central Corridor initiatives” Said, Rt. Hon. Prime Minister, Anastase Murekezi,
“Long-term strategies and commitments from both the public and private sector are needed, combined with action across a wide range of policy areas, to create an enabling environment for structured grain trade in Africa,” said Hon. Kanimba. “Structured grain trade can be well managed and governed in an efficient and principled manner through effective cooperation among countries and the various trading blocs.”
“We expect the Summit to deliberate on the above key issues and come up with practical recommendations that the various stakeholders will commit to follow through in a coordinated, collaborative and concerted manner, towards achieving the shared vision of a vibrant trade in grain and staple foods in Africa for a sustained, sufficient, and food secure Africa,” said Gerald Masila, Executive Director Eastern Africa Grain Council.