Kenya stands to benefit economically and culturally by hosting the inaugural G25 African Coffee Summit (ACS) in Nairobi from the 25th to the 27th of May.
The meeting, titled ‘Sustainable Development and Economic Growth in the African Coffee Sector,’ will bring together the heads of state and government from the 25 African coffee-producing countries to forge a consensus on integrating coffee as an anchor commodity in the African Union (AU) in line with Agenda 2063.
Dr. Francis Owino, Principal Secretary of State for Crops Development and Agriculture Research, said the summit would give Africa the leverage to address the challenges facing the African coffee sector under the auspices of the African Union to build a united and integrated Africa during a press briefing on the summit on Saturday at Kilimo House.
The Summit, according to the PS, will be a watershed moment in the history of the African coffee industry, providing Kenya with the potential to boost its economic growth by increasing coffee exports to numerous African countries.
He went on to say that just 58,424 tons of clean coffee were shipped to 11 nations in the last five years, from 2016/17 to 2020/21.
Coffee continues to be a major source of foreign exchange profits, a source of livelihood for an estimated 10 million people in Africa, and a source of direct and indirect investment, according to the PS.
“Coffee has made significant contributions to national GDPs and socioeconomic development in areas including rural infrastructure, education, health, employment, and poverty alleviation. It’s also a major supplier of raw materials for the agro-processing industry, helping to reduce trade imbalances between Africa and its trading partners,” Owino said.
According to him, coffee is the world’s second most traded commodity after oil, with a global turnover of USD 0.5 trillion and barely 10% of that going to coffee farmers.
Another goal of the Summit, according to Owino, is to encourage value addition and domestic consumption, as well as to educate people about coffee and its health advantages, and to boost coffee trade regionally under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) framework.
“By hosting the first ACS, President Uhuru Kenyatta will be able to quantify the benefits of his legacy of reforming coffee reforms to empower coffee farmers, among other positives,” the PS stated.
Kenya must also retake its rightful role as Africa’s center of coffee research and technological hub of coffee trading by restoring its influence on the continent and providing regional intellectual strategic leadership.
The Summit, according to Amb. Solomon Rutega, Secretary-General of the Inter African Coffee Organization (IACO), will help share knowledge on the impending threat of climate change on coffee, as well as the ongoing global pandemic Covid-19, which has had a huge impact on the coffee sector from seed to cup.
“We anticipate that the summit’s outcome will be a declaration declaring coffee as an anchor commodity in the Africa Union (AU) by the Africa Agenda 2063,” Ortega added.
The Secretary-General stated that including coffee in the African Union will go a long way toward unlocking much-needed resources for the resuscitation of Africa’s coffee industry, and he urged member states to join him in lobbying the AU to include coffee in its framework.
Since 1960, Kenya has been a member of the Inter-African Coffee Organization (IACO), which now has a membership of 25 countries.