November 7, 2014

A Southern view on the ‘Africa Works! Conference’


Written by  Seleus Nezerwe – Mobile Business Incubator

The Africa Works! conference 2014 highlighted the Netherlands’ cooperation strategy based on “Aid and Trade”. For those accustomed of the American way of “Trade not Aid”, this sounds more appropriate to the African context.

It was indeed a good opportunity for connecting cross sector partnerships, including: Governments, NGOs, Private sector and Knowledge sector. These sectors considered to be pillars of partnerships for development, need to intensify and coordinate their efforts for vibrant value chains to take place.

Some African delegates didn’t miss the occasion to update audiences on problems facing their countries. Nigeria presented the case of women spending a total of four months a year fetching water to highlight the problem of water and inequality facing women in Nigeria. However, one could ask whether an oil rich Nigeria couldn’t solve such a problem with oil revenues.

Ebola invited itself in with Liberia delegate elaborating on the case that 75% of victims are women.

Women representing South Soudan presented a better look, inviting investors to their country’s big opportunities, where only 5% of arable land is used and lots of minerals not yet exploited.

The usefulness of cross-sector partnerships in value chains was highlighted by the Burundi sorghum value chain. Local sorghum farmers work together with with private beer brewers, the Burundi Government, international NGOs, foreign and local investors, knowledge institutes to create jobs and transform sorghum into a tasty beer.

MOBINC provides a capacity building program to sorghum farmers from alphabetization to cooperative management. Our aim is to see farmers managing a vibrant sorghum value chain when NGOs will have left.