Launching Be4Ag CBL-ACP Cluster January 2017

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Be4Ag CBL-ACP Cluster is a way in the new economic of competition where Private Sector, Government and Institutions all have a stake, a role to play. Economists, politicians are now convinced that agriculture is everyone business, it is a driver of growth; agriculture and the entire agrifood area is the productive sector with the greatest job creation potential.

Be4Ag CBL-ACP Cluster is the coalescing of inter-connected enterprises and associated institutions that face common challenges and opportunities. It is the promotion of the private sector defined as a pattern of economic growth in targeted areas with a high growth and development potential. Africa is not immune to the short term economic headwinds that most economies now face but, Africa’s economies continue to grow.

Falling commodity prices for a broad range of natural resources are creating an increasing imperative for African nations to diversify their exports and reduce current account deficits. Initiatives foster the undertaking of joint actions among firms and support institutions and, allow Be4Ag CBL-ACP Cluster stakeholders to overcome limitations, reap opportunities that are beyond their individual reach and could ultimately yield benefits to the Cluster as a whole and the communities in which they are embedded. The rising of net food imports (expecting to grow from US$ 35bn in 2015 to over US$ 110bn by 2025) are indicative for a broader opportunity to transform agriculture construed as a business. The scale of imports demonstrates that demand exists.

Untapped agricultural potential has contributed to persistent poverty and deteriorating food security in a projected increase in the number of undernourished people from ~240m in 2015 to ~320m by 2025. A performing private sector will turn into an engine of growth in the local economy thus generating benefits and opportunities of participation for the beneficiaries.

Be4Ag CBL-ACP Cluster is an environment where the enterprises can develop a competitive and global edge. Getting there requires a strategic approach based on lessons learned.Consequently, appropriate policy support and assistanceof the African Caribbean Pacific (ACP) Group of States is required: be it South-South partnership, be it North-South, be it Triangular. The ACP Group with its 79 members is the unique and longstanding entities on the landscape of international relations. Lessons learned in aiming to drive agricultural development are based I) on scaling and leveraging what is already working II) insuring sufficient skills and capability exist for follow-through III)being sufficient targeted iv)outrightness on the importance of political will. Enterprises within Be4Ag CBL-ACP Cluster share many common features, obstacles and challenges.

First they may use the same suppliers of raw materials and other inputs. Second, they may cater to the same markets and clients even when producing different goods. Evidence suggests that the willingness of entrepreneurs to engage in joint actions is a critical success factor to unleash their growth potential. However, despite the potential benefits deriving from joint actions, entrepreneurs often choose a go-it-alone strategy. Africa is a market of 1.2 billion people where agriculture is the mainstay of most economies.Nevertheless, only 13% of European companies do business outside the EU. Doing business in Africa is the same as with another continent: barriers are everywhere. Africa is a continent in transition with rapid urbanization, increasing stability, young and growing population, expanding internet connectivity, and a changeover in consumption patterns.

Women‘s formal and informal work plays a crucial role in the economic development of Sub-Saharan African countries. With more than 64% of women working in the agricultural sector, women are the backbone of African rural agriculture and, the guardians of the continent’s food security. Agricultural transformation will involve mobilizing resources and capital, representing a significant opportunity for potential actors along the value chains.

Be4Ag CBL-ACP Cluster is an economic contribution to the answer of the strong global desire for self-sufficiency in food together with a scarcity of water and hot, arid growing conditions.

More broadly Be4Ag CBL-ACP Cluster represents a new way of thinking, challenging much of thewith conventional wisdom about how companies should be configured, how institutions such as universities can contribute to competitive success, and how governments can promote economic development and prosperity. A vibrant Cluster can help any company in any industry related compete in the most sophisticated ways, using the most advanced, relevant skills and technologies. Thus, by being an effect greater than the sum of its causes, and as it occurs spontaneously, Be4Ag CBL-ACP Cluster is an example of emergence, a robust organizational form that offers advantages in efficiency, effectiveness and flexibility and opens new public-private avenues for constructive action in achieving inclusive and sustainable growth in Developing Countries. Let’s meet the Sustainable Development Goals among other, SDGs #17: Partnerships for the Goals.