On May 23, 2024, Monika Froehler, CEO of the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens, along with Beatrice Rocca, Program Associate of the Elevating Agricultural Adaptation program, and Maja Markus, Communications Associate, were delighted to attend the conference “Innovation: a key enabler for sustainable food system transformation in Africa”. They met partners and connected with experts in the field of food security, innovation, and agricultural adaptation.

Held in Brussels, under the Belgium Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the event foresaw four panel discussions brought together experts from Africa and Europe, representatives from ministries, agencies, academia, and civil society. 

The conference started with a keynote speech with Dr. Vincent Martin, Director of the FAO Office of Innovation, emphasizing the need to support farmers with community-driven innovations, climate-resilient crops, and new technologies to address global hunger and food waste. 

A high-level panel discussion followed on the key role of innovation. It was wonderful to hear their perspectives on moving toward a greener, more resilient, efficient, and inclusive food system. Dr. Ismahane Elouafi, Executive Managing Director of CGIAR, highlighted the complexity of agricultural solutions and the importance of making technologies affordable for farmers.

Heidy Rombouts, Director of the Directorate-General for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid (DGD) of the Belgian government, emphasized mobilizing private sector finance for innovations while maintaining a social perspective.

Dr. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, AU Special Envoy for Food Systems, and Dr. Leonard Mizzi, Head of Unit at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for International Partnerships (INTPA), discussed the geopolitical aspects of food systems and the need for rapid implementation of innovations. Dr. Mizzi highlighted the importance of making agricultural investments more bankable and giving a voice to those typically unheard of in policy discussions.

Alongside the event, CEO Monika Froehler and the BKMC team engaged with Dr. Dhanush Dinesh, Chief Climate Catalyst at Clim-Eat; Dr. Hildegard Lingnau, Executive Secretary of the Global Forum on Agricultural Research and Innovation (GFAIR); Hilary Barry, Co-Founder of Lady-Agri Impact Investment Hub and EVWA Council Member; Holy Ranaivozanany, Deputy Executive Director of the Africa-Europe Foundation; and Siny Samba, founder of Le Lionceau and leading women agro-entrepreneur.

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"Innovation: a key enabler for sustainable food system transformation in Africa" Conference in Brussels