Africa Agri forum Live & Huawei Cameroon: what digitalization strategies to boost the agricultural sector?

This is the quintessence of the forum held on Friday March 5, 2021 by videoconference and moderated by Charlotte Libog of Afrique Grenier, on the challenges of food security in Africa.

This platform dedicated to strategies aimed at boosting the agricultural sector in Africa had the effective participation of the Cameroonian Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Gabriel Baïrobé, alongside His Excellency Josefa Leonel Sacko, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development and blue economy, as well as sustainable environment with the African Union. Loïse Tamalgo who is the Vice-President in charge of public relations for Sub-Saharan Africa at Huawei was also present, as well as His Excellency Moulay Lahcen Ennahli Senior Vice-President West Africa of OCP Africa. 

At first glance, it is not superfluous to say that Africa alone represents 60% of the world's arable land, and also enjoys unprecedented demographic growth, testifying to the presence of a considerable market. It also benefits from the availability of cheap labour, but also from hydraulic potential. Despite this significant potential, Africa remains the only continent in the world that massively imports what is consumed by its population. Anything that does not allow her to claim food security in the current state of affairs. Hence the validity of this forum on the challenges of food security in Africa.

His Excellency Josefa Leonel Sacko enlightened everyone on the agricultural policy advocated by the African Union: “the Heads of State and Government of the African Union during the 33th Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the AU have adopted the digital transformation strategy in Africa in which digital agriculture has a prominent place. And that is what we are working on, trying to turn the decision of Heads of State into action…Technology and digital innovations open up vast untapped potential for farmers, investors and entrepreneurs to improve the efficiency of food production and consumption in Africa… From precision agriculture to an efficient food supply chain, this technology could bring major economic, social and environmental benefit…”   

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HE JOSEFA LEONEL C. SAKO, Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Environment at the African Union: “Technology and digital innovations open up vast untapped potential for farmers, investors and entrepreneurs to improve the efficiency of food production and processing in Africa”.  She therefore took the opportunity offered to her to appreciate HUAWEI and suggest to the multinational to find a way to create an Application “SMART SEEDS” which could make it possible to identify and better manage plants to facilitate and modernize Agriculture in Africa.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development of Cameroon, for his part, gave an overview of the Cameroonian strategy driven by His Excellency Paul Biya who calls with all his wishes for an agriculture of 2nd generation to solve not only the problems of poverty but also to eradicate hunger in Cameroon as agreed in the Malabo commitments and in the 2063 commitments of the African Union. The Minister encouraged Huawei's efforts in the digitization of this sector and specified that the government of Cameroon welcomes a more extensive partnership with the Chinese high-tech equipment manufacturer Huawei, already present in Cameroon in other segments.

Thus, Cameroon has always been active in improving access for all to information and communication technologies. It has set itself the objective, in the ICT sector strategy… of providing 40 villages with telecommunications means, and of making available to the public a 000 Megabit/Second internet access offer in all towns with a digital center and multiply by 2 the number of direct and indirect jobs...

"The question of agriculture for us is very important and you will certainly ask us for an equipment supplier like Huawei what is there to do, between the boxes we sell and the food. A hyphen is between the two, it is about Africa which is the ground where we operate, which is the ground where we think the future will be, and Africa where there is the opportunity to be able to deploy major strategies. Whether in digital matters, in agriculture, quite simply in Africa there is a lot to be done to work in the direction of the sustainable development objectives defined by the UN and of course mentioned in the program of the 2063 objective. of the AU to which we adhere unequivocally. For us, technology is at the service of development, it is the 1st purpose of technology…” declared among others, Loïse Tamalgo, during this exchange platform on digital agriculture.

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