The timing for crucial conversations on advancing Canada-Africa commercial relations has never been more important. Traditional discourses on Canada-Africa agriculture have been largely locked within the agricultural, life, and environmental disciplines. However, it is obvious that to make major advances, key players across the entire value chain – i.e., policymakers, elected officials, investors, farmers, business leaders, development finance institutions, agribusiness owners, entrepreneurs, academics, research scientists, equipment manufacturers, etc. – must be at the table.
The Canada-Africa Agriculture Alliance is aimed at providing industry practitioners, policymakers, scientists, entrepreneurs, business leaders, thought leaders, and top diplomats with insights on cutting-edge agricultural innovation, along with a good understanding of the commercial opportunities in the Canada-Africa agriculture value chain. The Alliance offers stakeholders unparalleled opportunities to network and gain valuable insights aimed at assisting them in mapping agriculture-specific research and commercial opportunities across Canada and Africa’s heterogenous markets.
For context, while the global population is expected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050 (United Nations, 2015), the demand for food is anticipated to increase between 59 percent and 98 percent by 2050 (Valin et al., 2014). This will have a profound impact on global agricultural markets in ways we have not seen before. To put things into perspective, Africa alone is expected to contribute more than half of the 2.4 billion increase in global population by 2050, while the continent’s food and beverages subsector is expected to reach $1 trillion in value by 2030 (Diop, 2016). Therefore, the ability to grow and access nutritious and sustainable food will be critical in the coming years.
Canada is a global leader in agricultural production, and this presents a huge opportunity. As Canada increasingly diversifies its trade towards emerging market economies, the importance of maximizing its share of a rapidly growing and dynamic agricultural export market cannot be overemphasized. Leke and Signe (2019) allude to the ongoing industrial revolution in Africa and estimate that industries on the continent stand to double production to $1 trillion within a decade, with the food processing sector, among others, accounting for three-quarters of the anticipated expansion.
The Alliance is aimed primarily at disseminating and exchanging research in the Canada-Africa agriculture domain. Among other things, Africa is well positioned to derive complementary benefits as Canada shares best practices in, for instance, innovation and sustainable agriculture practices.
The Principal Investigators and their team are leading this effort by translating research into evidence-based collective action by engaging interdisciplinary stakeholders, leaders, and the best minds from across Canadian and African academia, government, industry, and the development sector.