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The just concluded ReNAPRI Conference, held from the 14th to the 16th of November, 2023, at the Elephant Hills Resort in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, was a resounding success, bringing together experts, policymakers, and stakeholders to deliberate on crucial issues facing the food system in Africa. The three-day event featured a diverse range of sessions, discussions, and celebrations that encapsulated the spirit of collaboration, innovation, and progress.

Commencing with a focus on the Africa Fertilizer and Soil Health (AFSH) Summit, discussions centered on operationalizing the AFSH Action Plan for sustainable agricultural practices. This set the stage for a broader exploration of agricultural policies and investments through value chain analysis (PPVC), providing valuable insights for strategic decision-making to enhance the continent’s agricultural sector.

The official opening session featured esteemed personalities, including the representative of the Zimbabwe Minister of Agriculture, Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University of Zimbabwe, representatives of the African Development Bank, USAID and lots more. Their presence underscored the conference’s significance in shaping the future of African agriculture. The ensuing high-level panel discussion delved into the theme of ‘Localization,’ emphasizing the need to strengthen local expertise for impactful research and policymaking. This approach is the path to tow for African nations to drive their agricultural agendas, fostering self-sufficiency and sustainable growth.

Moreover, the conference was spiced with celebration. We celebrated a decade of impactful research. The ReNAPRI Conference @ 10 marked a historic moment. The event also introduced the inaugural ReNAPRI Awards Ceremony, honoring outstanding contributors to the network. The night was indeed a night of pleasant surprises. In the same vein, we had partners breakfast. The breakfast brought key stakeholders together, fostering collaborations essential for implementing the strategic goals outlined during the conference. The breakfast featured a remarkable presentation by Mr. Stephen Karangizi, the immediate past director and CEO of the Africa Legal Support Facility (ALSF) at AfDB. 

There was a presentation on the Zimbabwe Agricultural outlook as well as a joint session which was supported by the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). The session focused on the regional seed trade in eastern and southern Africa. Additionally, there were informative sessions on the implementation of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) in Africa under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. Insights were drawn from the experiences of four pilot countries. Another session explored the impact of global shocks, particularly focusing on the conflict in Ukraine, on food, fuels, and fertilizer—considering both prices and availability—and its repercussions on food systems in Africa. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) also hosted a session titled ” Achieving Zero Hunger in Africa: OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook, food import bills and agribusiness development of the AfCFTA”

Beyond the intellectual endeavors, delegates had the chance to unwind and appreciate the region’s beauty through a boat cruise and tours of the awe-inspiring Victoria Falls. As the conference concluded, the resonance of collaborative initiatives and transformative discussions echoed. There is a clarion call for all stakeholders within Africa’s agricultural space to synergistically work to fortify Africa’s food system through increased productivity, climate resilience, and adaptation.