African leaders important driving force in African agriculture

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More than ever it is evident that the greatest strength of a good African leader is to know when to bow out, and to do so in a manner making the seamless transfer of power possible. This was said by the WFO president, Dr. Theo de Jager at the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) conference 2017.

President of the World Farmers’ Organisation (WFO), Dr Theo de Jager, has been in Abidjan, the capital of the Cote d’Ivoire, attending the AGRF conference 2017. The theme of this year’s Forum was ‘Accelerating Africa’s Path to Prosperity: ‘Growing Inclusive Economies and Jobs through Agriculture’.

“In Abidjan, we’ve have had the privilege of rubbing shoulders with two of Africa’s exceptional leaders, and the good fortune to be able to exchange ideas and form robust associations with leading global development aid organisations,” said Dr de Jager.

It is fairly well known that a lack of good governance is a major stumbling block for the kind of investment Africa needs to stimulate agriculture as a powerful driver of broad-based wealth and job creation.

A big part of this problem is vested in leadership, especially in dealing with the limited nature of tenure in positions of power said de Jager. “It requires wisdom to know when to move on.”

More than ever, said the WFO president, it was evident that the greatest strength of a good African leader is to know when to bow out, and to do so in a manner making the seamless transfer of power possible.

“The timing for an exit is right when the people want their top man, or woman, to stay a little longer. Clinging to power while the mutterings of discontent amplify to a hostile rumble, is neither gracious nor productive,” De Jager commented.

“The leader who leaves with his reputation intact and the respect of his people undimmed can continue to play a significant and necessary role in African development agendas.

“Former Nigerian president Olusegun Obansanjo remains a powerful and respected force for positive change on the continent and a tireless marketer of his country as an investment destination.

“Pineapple farmer Jakaya Kikwete, the former president of Tanzania, uses his capacity in Africa, and abroad, to function as an ambassador of goodwill, an advisor and a mediator. Kikwete’s experience is highly regarded in the international community.

“Building capacity is a priority for the Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions (SACAU). There can be no doubt that it is in the interest of all farmers in the region that the weakest farmers’ organisations be strengthened and assisted to advocate for a better policy framework on agriculture,” said the WTO president.

De Jager was encouraged that SACAU had been able to develop firm partnerships with strategically important organisations. This would empower efforts on current projects that aimed to improve conditions for the poorest farmers’ unions; to help young farmers and to facilitate and to advance digital progress in the industry.

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