ALFA: A new Africa-France link for agriculture and food
- Posted by: Zuzana Majeska
- Category: Africa, France
On 6 October, a new initiative was launched at the headquarters of the Movement of the Enterprises of France (MEDEF), on the sidelines of the Africa-France summit. The Agriculture-Livestock-Fisheries-Africa (ALFA) initiative, a grouping of 105 French companies covering the entire value chain, was launched by Karim Aittalb, CEO of GEOCOTON and co-founder of ALFA1, in the presence of France’s Minister for Foreign Trade, Franck Riester.
The aim of this new platform is to contribute to renewing the partnership between Africa and France and to highlight French agricultural know-how. ALFA is driven by the will, shared with African partners, to build an appropriate response to the major challenges of developing sustainable and inclusive agriculture and food systems, especially in sub-Saharan Africa.
On the eve of various trips to Africa, the launch provided an opportunity to report to Franck Riester the conclusions of the work of the four ALFA committees. COLEACP is a member of the ALFA platform, and COLEACP’s Marketing and Engagement Director, Emmanuel Bourcelet, is leading the initiative’s training committee. There are three additional working committees – access to finance; value chains; and logistics – led respectively by Pierre Arnaud (investor in Africa, ex-DG Proparco and Vice-President of Compagnie Fruitière); François Burgaud (President of the Agriculture and Agri-food sector of MEDEF International, ex-President of Adepta); and Patrick Lawson (Director of port concessions of the Bolloré Group).
Drivers behind the formation of ALFA are the awareness that the African continent represents an exceptional lever for growth, and French President Emmanuel Macron’s November 2017 speech in Ouagadougou, which underlined the need to involve French companies in a collective effort towards a new form of partnership between Africa and France. The 6 October launch focused on the levers of development of agricultural and food value chains in Africa, and the role companies can play in positioning agriculture and livestock at the centre of French diplomacy on the continent.
Minister Riester travelled to Kenya on 25 October, and next month he will go to Mauritania. Tanzania, Rwanda, Sudan and Egypt are also already envisaged. There are many issues to explore and prospects for sustainable entrepreneurship in the development and transformation of agriculture in Africa, and COLEACP remains mobilised to contribute.
1 ALFA was co-founded with Jean-Marc Gravellini and Hamza Hraoui.