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Growing inclusive economies and jobs through agriculture

August 21, 2017

As a partner of the 2017 African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF), CTA will be able to further its mission of advancing food security, resilience and inclusive economic growth in Africa through innovations in sustainable agriculture. The Forum will also host the final stage of the CTA’s West Africa Pitch AgriHack! Competition and award ceremony for the winners. 

The 2017 AGRF “Accelerating Africa’s Path to Prosperity: Growing Inclusive Economies and Jobs through Africa” provides a platform for global and African leaders to develop actionable plans to help transform African agriculture. The 7th AGRF, and the first to be held in francophone Africa, is expected to be attended by over 750 delegates and dignitaries, including current and former heads of state, agriculture and finance ministers, central bank governors, and eminent leaders of institutions and top industry captains from the private sector. 

Pitch AgriHack! West Africa, which will culminate at the AGRF in Côte d’Ivoire in September 2017, is open to ICT start-ups run by young entrepreneurs (18-35 years), giving them the chance to win funding to help them consolidate, pilot or upscale their platforms and services. Selected start-ups will take part in a business training boot camp, a pitching competition, and will be offered grants and access to investment, and additional capacity building and promotional opportunities. Winning teams will receive a cash prize of up to €15,000, as well as promotional support, additional capacity building and networking opportunities. They may also benefit from funding or investments from supporters of Pitch AgriHack!

The Pitch AgriHack! competition was launched in June 2017 and 130 applications from youth e-agriculture start-ups were received from 11 West African countries. From these, 53 semi-finalists have been selected and will be further screened by an international panel of judges including experts in ICT innovation, business and agriculture, as well as venture capitalists, to select 25 finalists to attend the AGRF. Selection criteria will include: quality of the pitch summary; agricultural problem addressed by the platform; current market traction; technical solution proposed; unique value proposition; team composition. At the AGRF, the finalists will have the opportunity to attend training sessions (including a full day of financial and investment readiness training), and to pitch their solutions to development partners and potential investors.

The ultimate objective is to contribute to the transformation of the agricultural sector and promote youth employment by strengthening the capacity of young entrepreneurs and their business models, and help them consolidate or gain market traction and attract new funding. It is expected that the best start-ups involved will eventually offer effective services to hundreds of thousands of farmers and agricultural stakeholders in ACP countries. 

The programme is being implemented by CTA in collaboration with key national and international institutions, multinational private sector bodies, investors and incubators. These partners include the African Agribusiness Incubators Network, Agribusiness TV, and innovation spaces including Orange Fab Côte d'Ivoire, Wennovation Hub (Nigeria), EcoHub (Togo), Etrilabs (Benin), Suguba (Mali), CTIC Dakar (Senegal), and CIPMEN (Niger).

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