Taking Your Voice to Your Leaders

Taking Your Voice to Your Leaders

ONE Africa Executive Director, Dr Sipho Moyo talks about the great strides achieved by the Do Agric, It pays campaign at the recent World Economic Forum on Africa summit held in Nigeria

Dr Moyo

Dr Sipho Moyo, Executive Director of ONE Africa leads discussions at GROW AFRICA

By Dr. Sipho S. Moyo
Several of us at ONE were in Abuja last week to attend events surrounding the World Economic Forum on Africa (WEF), which presented a number of opportunities to lobby, advocate and draw attention to the Do Agric, It Pays campaign amongst a number of business and political leaders.

My team and I first attended the Grow Africa Investment Forum, which was a natural audience for the Do Agric message. I had an opportunity to speak at an opening plenary where in front of five Presidents and Prime Ministers (the leaders of Nigeria, Tanzania, Rwanda, Benin and Cote d’Ivoire) where I encouraged them to do more for agriculture. I told them that their citizens are watching and expecting more from them in creating opportunity through agriculture and that we expect them to take our voices to Malabo in Equatorial Guinea at the next African Union (AU) Summit in June.

I was particularly pleased to visit with President Boni of Benin again. As Chair of the AU back in 2012, he declared 2014 the Year of Agriculture and Food Security. To thank him, we gave him the ONE petition signed by over 600,000 members from across Africa demanding more investments in agriculture across Africa—a tangible result of his leadership and support.

Dr Sipho Moyo delivers the Do Agric petition to President Yayi Boni of Mali

Dr Sipho Moyo delivers the Do Agric petition to President Yayi Boni of Benin

After our work at the Grow Africa forum, we moved into the WEF activities. On Wednesday, May 7, we held a press conference featuring Nigeria’s Agriculture Minister the Honorable Dr. Akin Adesina, the African Development Bank’s President Mr. Donald Kaberuka, Mr. Tony Elumelu, and Do Agric Champion D’banj to make comments on the importance of “Doing Agric” to transform Africa’s economy and the potential of its citizens. Kaberuka reaffirmed that no country in the world has engineered inclusive growth without developing its agriculture sector first. We also announced at that point over 600,000 ONE members had signed our petition to demand more investments in agriculture across Africa. D’banj and I then delivered your petition to Minister Adesina. In receiving the petition, the Minister went pointed out that he was very proud of what ONE had done to bring agriculture out of “obscurity” and “into the mainstream.” He also noted it is important that AU leaders meet their commitments to transform agriculture.

IMG_0218

Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture,  Dr Akin Adesina, receives the Do Agric petition from D’banj. They are flanked by Dr Sipho Moyo (left) and philanthropist and businessman, Tony Elumelu.

We didn’t stop there though. For the rest of the week, we took any opportunity we could to deliver the petition and speak to your leaders on the progress that a renewed agriculture sector could bring to our countries. When we met with President Kikwete of Tanzania—he received ONE’s very first African petition back in 2012—he committed to championing Do Agric, It Pays with more of his peers at the June AU Summit.

President Kikwete

President Kikwete receives the Petition, signed by over 600 000 Africans from Dr Moyo and Nde Ndifonka from ONE

On Friday, I had the chance to speak with Nigerian President Jonathan in a public forum about what 600,000 Africans are asking him to do. While I didn’t have the petition to deliver to him, I told him that his petition was with his Agriculture Minister. He was impressed, but I told him we weren’t stopping here. We want to bring him 1 million signers to the Summit.

Have you signed the petition yet? If not, do so now. Do Agric only has five weeks left to reach our goal of 1 million signers. We’ll be taking the campaign personally to Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia and other countries in these last weeks. We need your help to join the campaign and spread the word.

 

 

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