5-6 JUNE 2018 / Tour & Taxis / Brussels

Leading the change: Empowering women and girls for a thriving rural economy

Enhancing policy dialogue and cooperation on strengthening the role of women and girls in agriculture and rural areas

High-level panel - Auditorium
Wednesday, June 6, 2018
14:30 to 16:00

  • Public and private responsible investments to mobilise, incentivise and empower women and girls in the rural economy in Africa. The objective is to better coordinate African Union and European Union initiatives to increase investments in African sustainable agriculture, agribusiness and agroindustrial development.
  • Enhance policy dialogue and cooperation and how to provide the right framework to create decent jobs and bring sustainable growth in the African rural economy. We will examine women's access to finance, land and decision making, training, advice and information.
  • Share knowledge and know-how on best policies and mechanisms to empower women and girls in rural areas; develop employment opportunities and revenue-generating activities in regions of origin and transit of migrants

Key points

  • The linkage between agriculture and agro-business is essential to address food insecurity and Africa’s economic transformation.
  • Promoting access to land, promoting financial inclusions as well as private instruments, are essential in rural areas.
  • Successful development of the untapped employment and production potential requires a focused job strategy, in particular for women and girls across the continent.
  • An approach is needed that aims to support value-chain development, skills development and the improvement overall business climate.
  • Partnerships with government and the private sector and international organisations are essential to ensure the right business regulatory conditions for investment


The European Commission (EC) has plenty of plans and it is time to see action. Financial resources are needed to make it happen. Technical assistance has to be part of these programmes to ensure continuity.

The key areas for action to bring gap between the theory and practice are:

  • Investing in skills and productive capacity – giving women the necessary experience to build careers in the sector. We also need to facilitate access to new technologies and access to new capital.
  • Policies and agendas that tackle particular gender constraints, vocational training in agriculture and the food and drinks sector, could have a particularly major impact on women’s economic activity and food security.

A key area for action is agribusiness. The EC is supporting a project which aims to establish the EU-Africa Agribusiness Platform. This will strengthen links between the food and drinks industry in Africa and Europe. It will also help African entrepreneur


The plans are all in place. The challenge and urgency is now to implement them in a timely fashion.

Organised by


Mella Frewen
Grace Kata Banda
Young Leader - Malawi
Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko
Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture
African Union Commission
Phil Hogan
EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development
European Commission
Yong Li
Director General
United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO)
Fatma Ben Rejeb
Panafrican Farmers Organisation (PAFO)
Tom Arnold
Chairman, DG AGRI/DEVCO Task for Rural Africa