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May 21st, 2018 / Next Einstein Forum

Dr. Agnes Kalibata, President of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), leads the organization’s efforts with public and private partners to ensure a food secure and prosperous Africa through rapid, sustainable agricultural growth, improving the productivity and livelihoods of millions of smallholder farmers.

“Towards the end of last month, I attended the 2018 Next Einstein Forum in Kigali, Rwanda. The amount of energy at the Forum was palpable and the number of new working ideas shared by participants inspiring. The icing on the cake, for me, was the representation of young innovative people at the Forum. They showcased their ongoing work to find solutions to the continent’s real life challenges. By every measure, they are taking charge of their destiny and that of the continent. Seeing them shape tomorrow’s Africa gave me hope; a lot of hope that the future is bright.

Harnessing the youth potential was a key theme of President Paul Kagame’s opening speech. He called on governments, private companies and academic institutions to give talented African tech specialists, scientists and innovators the chance to grow and compete globally.

“Too often, it is assumed that technical expertise is unavailable in Africa. Governments are as guilty as big companies in this regard. We keep going back to the same external suppliers for solutions without making every effort to procure the services that are available here. It doesn’t make sense,” said President Kagame.

He further stated that despite the challenges we still face, there is clear evidence of forward movement and a sense that the moment is ours to seize. “We have what it takes to do so not least because of the growing ranks of smart and creative young people who are the foundation of African future. The critical difference will come from how we all are prepared to give young people a chance and invest in giving them an opportunity to learn,” he added.

The imperative to act is now. The world is advancing rapidly and has become increasingly interconnected that we face the danger of sacrificing the opportunity to grow Africa’s youthful talent for talent that is available globally. That would be the beginning of Africa’s demise.

We have enough lessons to draw from to avoid such an eventuality.” Read more