Statement by the President of the Federal Republic of Somalia On Turkey-Africa Agriculture and Agribusiness Forum
Apr 27, 2017
Excellency, Mr. Prime Minister Binali Yildrim
Excellency, Professor Alpha Conde,
President of Guinea and Term President of the African Union,
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen
It is a great honor and privilege to be blessed with the
opportunity to open this crucial Ministerial level conference on Agriculture
and Agribusiness here in this beautiful city of Antalya.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Mayor of
Antalya, the Turkish Government and its people for their warm hospitality and
hosting this important and historical conference.
There has never been a greater time and more important need to
discuss these matters between Africa and Turkey, which are solid partners for
progress and mutual prosperity.
Our beautiful and rich African continent is blessed with vast
resources including ample arable land, which should be basis for food security,
economic progress and strong rural communities. However, the challenges for the
African agricultural sector is clear: Our cyclical droughts and the vast
imports of food from other nations when they could be easily grown on our own
One of the key reasons why this conference is timely is that in
this age of food insecurity, climate change challenges, high youth unemployment
and unprecedented urbanization, we must take both the rural areas and their
potential to lead to sustainable development in diverse forms very seriously.
In this regard, Africa has much to learn from and share with the brotherly
State of Turkey which is one of the most food secure nations in the World with
a strong and established agribusiness with global reach.
What makes learning from each other important at this crucial
junction is that the global population is increasing rapidly with virtually all
the increase expected to occur in developing countries. The world's largest
population growth will be recorded in our beloved continent Africa during the
period ahead. This large and growing rural population will depend even more on
agriculture not only for food, but also for employment and income.
Agriculture may not be the most exciting subject, but without it
we cannot feed ourselves. Today in Africa, it is absolutely heart breaking that
our people are among the most malnourished and vulnerable to both hunger and
the effects of climate change. It is up to us to ensure, that we overcome these
devastating challenges, which holds us all back and further challenges our
public expenditure through the need for direct interventions such as medical
care which is expensive. With investment in Agriculture and the value added
agribusiness, not only can we mitigate the negative policy impacts of food
insecurity, but we can also turn the tide of our young and brightest leaving
our continent for better opportunities for themselves and their families.
The partnership of Africa with Turkey can provide exactly the
knowledge exchange and the technological advancement we need in Africa to
cultivate the potential of our Agriculture and agribusiness. We already have
the most important ingredient for success which is the vast arable land and
with new partnerships such as the Turkish government and its private sector,
which will bring new skills, technology and financing, we can achieve our full
potential as a continent.
In Somalia, the most recent devastating drought, which could
potentially still lead to famine is one of the cyclical crises that my
Government is determined to overcome sustainably. We have prioritized food
security, climate change and the creation of Agribusiness as a means of
feeding, employing, upskilling and economically empowering our people. The
Somali people, despite their recent surge towards urbanization, are a true
people of the land. 50 percent of our GDP comes from the Agriculture. Somali
bananas were world famous and we also produce a variety of produces and we have
the potential of cultivating diverse agricultural produces across an enormous
amount of agricultural land. This is an opportunity we will not waste and we
invite you all to invest in Somalia.
This meeting must be one where we focus on immediate-to-long
term deliverables to ensure a win-win partnership for all stakeholders who
endeavor to achieve some of the most important African Union Vision 2063 and
the UN Sustainable Development Goals 2030. The success of this conference’s
outcomes and the results of our follow up will not be judged only by big
institutions but by those they must benefit the most, our people.
I, once again, urge Turkish companies to invest in Somalia’s
agriculture and agribusiness for the progress and prosperity of our two sides.
I thank you all for your time. It has been an honor to address you all.