Kenya is poised to draw various economic and socio-cultural benefits by hosting the first G25 African Coffee Summit (ACS) starting 25th -27th May in Nairobi.
Themed ‘Sustainable Development and Economic Growth in the African Coffee Sector’, the Heads of States and Government of the 25 African Coffee Producing Countries shall converge to marshal consensus for integrating coffee as an anchor commodity in the African Union (AU) in harmony with the Africa Union Agenda 2063.
Speaking today at Kilimo House during a press briefing on the summit, Dr. Francis Owino, Principal Secretary State Department for Crops Development and Agriculture Research said the summit would give Africa the leverage to address the challenges faced by the African coffee sector under the auspices of the African Union to build a united and integrated Africa.
The Summit, the PS said, would also be a big milestone in the history of the coffee sector on the African continent thus offering an opportunity to Kenya to enhance her economic growth by enhancing export of her coffees to a number of African countries.
He added that for the last five years, from 2016/17- 2020/21, only 58,424 tons of clean coffee have been exported to 11 countries alone.
The PS noted that Coffee continues to be a major contributor to foreign exchange earnings, is a source of livelihoods to an estimated 10 million people in Africa and attracts direct and indirect investments.
“Coffee has contributed immensely to national GDPs and socio- economic development in areas such as rural infrastructure, education, health, employment and poverty eradication. It is also a major source of raw materials to the agro-processing industries and contributes to narrowing trade imbalances between Africa and her trading partners,” said Owino.
He said globally coffee is the second most traded commodity after oil and its turnover is estimated at USD 0.5 trillion with only 10 per cent of this turnover being transmitted to coffee growers.
Another objective of the Summit, Owino said, is to promote value addition and domestic consumption in conjunction with educating people on coffee and its benefits on health as well as expanding coffee trading regionally under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) framework.
“By hosting the first ACS, President Uhuru Kenyatta shall have the opportunity to enumerate the gains of his legacy of restructuring coffee reforms agenda to empower the coffee farmer among others gains,” said the PS.
Kenya shall also restore its influence in the African region and also provide regional intellectual strategic leadership and reclaim its rightful position as the center of coffee research and technological hub of coffee trading in Africa.
In his remarks, Amb. Solomon Rutega, Secretary General Inter African Coffee Organization (IACO), said the Summit shall help share knowledge on the imminent danger of climate change on coffee and the ongoing global pandemic Covid-19 which has had a tremendous effect on the coffee sector from seed to cup.
“We expect that the outcome of the summit shall marshal consensus on a declaration of including coffee as an anchor commodity in the Africa Union (AU) in harmony with the Africa Agenda 2063,” said Rutega.
The Secretary General noted that the anchoring of coffee onto the African Union shall go a long way towards unlocking the much-needed resources for revitalization of the coffee industry in Africa, urging support from the member states, to marshal the AU to admit coffee in its framework.
Kenya has been a member of the Inter- African Coffee Organization (IACO) since 1960 when IACO membership was 11 States, to 25 States today.
By Catherine Muindi