Philadelphia, PA, 03 November 2018 – As the leading student-led and Africa-focused business forum in the world, the Wharton Africa Business Forum has welcomed thought leaders, dignitaries, CEOs, visionaries, and young professionals from across the globe—to contemplate and champion Africa as a leading business destination.
Agriculture is increasingly playing a role in Africa’s growth story and several leaders on the continent were selected to share insights to over 700 global professionals attending the conference. The 2018 Agriculture panel featured the following:
Kavaneet Dhami – Founder and CEO, KDHI Agriculture
Brian Reese – Director, One Acre Fund
Mirabelle Moreaux – Investment Director, Injaro Investments Limited
Dan Zook – Executive Director, ISF Advisors
Jackson Mvunganyi – Multimedia Reporter (Moderator)
The UN estimates that by 2050, the world’s population will have grown by 2.2 billion people, more than half of which (1.3 billion) will come from Africa. The continent is presently struggling to feed its billion people, and if current trends persist, will certainly not be able to feed its projected population of 2.5 billion in 2050. The Brookings Institute estimates that Africa needs to grow its food production by 60% over the next 15 years to feed its growing population. An African Green Revolution is long overdue! Genetic modification offers a solution to multiplying yields quickly, and yet faces opposition.
But production is not the only challenge. Even in highly-functional regional economic blocs such as the East African Community, severe restrictions on the movement of food across borders, especially commodity export bans, are commonplace, further impeding the continent’s ability to optimize food production and distribution.
The solution to Africa’s food security will doubtless require serious transformations throughout the value chain and beyond. High-quality agro-inputs need to become more accessible. Subsistence smallholders need to become sustainable agribusinesses leveraging best farm practices for increased yields. Processing capacity needs to expand exponentially to add value to primary farm products. Markets need to open up quickly. Governments need to demonstrate serious commitment to a positive enabling environment. We all need to get to work.
Areas discussed included:
Accelerating production (higher quality inputs, genetic modification, modern farm practices, commercial scale farming, utilizing uncultivated land)
Building downstream capacity and logistics (post-harvest loss, infrastructure gaps, lack of processing)
Trade and Policy (demand of African products, trade-barriers, subsidies to farmers, Africa continental free trade agreement)
Financing (DFIs, de-risking farming, scaling)
Technology and Innovation (mobile telephony, IoT, farm management)
About Wharton Africa Business Forum (WABF)
WABF is the Wharton Africa Student Association’s (WASA) annual flagship event. WABF 2018’s theme was “Reimagining Africa’s Global Partnerships: Unleashing Its Potential and Redesigning Pathways to Growth”, to facilitate dialogue about Africa’s diverse opportunities, and how business and government leaders make decisions especially during times of great uncertainty.
The 26th Forum in 2018 is geared towards the following: to provide unparalleled insights into the opportunities and challenges of operating in Africa; to connect young African professionals with African leaders in the public, private and social sectors; and to inspire educated talent in the diaspora to engage and participate in the region’s development. The Forum is a world-class business conference, where participants can gain profound insights on business and opportunity in Africa, in an engaging, intimate environment.
About KDHI Agriculture
KDHI Agriculture is a leading Agribusiness/Agritech social enterprise focused on driving growth in the production, processing, and trade of Agricultural products from Sub-Saharan Africa using data-driven processes. KDHI’s key focus areas include: 1) market access, 2) value addition, and 3) soil management. The group works across various products but is currently focused on coconuts, cashews, and moringa. KDHI works with its investors and strategic partners to bring world-renowned expertise to the countries in which it operates in order to catalyze greater food security, health, nutrition and incomes for families, as well as generating value of all kinds beneficial to the state (sector growth, industrialization, poverty alleviation, etc.).