Uruguay to help Africa improve its agriculture

Uruguay to help Africa improve its agriculture

A delegation from the Government of Uruguay on Friday met with the UN Economic Commission for Africa’s Deputy Executive Secretary, Giovanie Biha, and discussed on how to help improve Africa’s agriculture sector.

The two sides have discussed ways through which the think tank and Uruguay can work together so African countries can learn from the South American country’s successful experience and best practices in agriculture and related sectors.

Led by the country’s deputy Foreign Affairs Minister, Raul Pollack, the Uruguayan delegation discussed with Ms. Biha and her team, possibilities of South-South cooperation; triangular institutional and technical cooperation; and in particular agriculture and livestock value-chains.

“We are deeply interested in Africa and Ethiopia is the best place to start with, especially with the presence of the African Union Commission, the Economic Commission for Africa and all the countries that are represented here,” said Mr. Pollack, adding his government was keen to ensure its collaboration with the UNECA and Africa was a success.

He said his country was particularly interested in working with the UNECA to help develop the continent’s agricultural sector, leveraging on Uruguay’s success in the sector in terms of technology and value chains.

Mr. Pollack said the South American country would also want to learn from Africa’s experiences, especially regarding climate change mitigation. He said his country also hopes to benefit from the UNECA’s knowledge and strategic relationship with African Member States.

Uruguay’s economy is characterized by an export-oriented agricultural sector and a well-educated work force in a country of 3.5 million people.

Ms. Biha said the UNECA was committed to Africa’s economic transformation and was ready to work with Uruguay to develop a framework that will see Member States benefiting from the technical support of Uruguay.

She said the development of the continent’s agricultural value chains was particularly important as this encompassed the flow of products, knowledge and information between farmers and consumers.

“Our farmers need to better engage with value chains in order to gain added value for improving their livelihoods and any collaboration in that regard would be great,” said Ms. Biha, adding Africa also has a lot to share in terms of successes with Uruguay.

The two teams also discussed ongoing United Nations reforms with the UNECA deputy Chief sharing with the Uruguayans the organization’s current re-positioning exercise ‘where we have put a high premium on delivering ideas and action for an empowered, inclusive and transformed Africa’.

“We are equal to the task by providing technical and advisory support to member States informed by policy and analytic research and working with Uruguay would be one opportunity to transform that knowledge into products,” said Ms. Biha.

A round table discussion to initialize the South-South Cooperation project will be held in the near future. At least five African countries are set to initially benefit from the partnership whose details are currently being honed out by experts from the ECA and Uruguay.