Good afternoon: Excellency Hailemariam Desalegn, Dr Agnes Kalibata, moderator Jeff Koinange, and all the Townhall participants.

Welcome to all those who have come to Rwanda, to participate in this hybrid gathering, and also those joining us remotely.

I thank AGRA and partners for organising these meetings, and for choosing Kigali as the venue.

Despite the Covid pandemic, I trust you will take time to safely enjoy your stay in Rwanda.

I was invited to interact with you, before your session today, and I am very happy to join you.

The potential of agriculture on our continent is vast. But we need to invest more, and get more out of the investments we have already made.

This includes public infrastructure and value chains, particularly for the growing urban food markets that underpin prosperity in rural areas.

What we need from you is the corresponding focus and innovative spirit, so that agriculture can indeed serve as the basis of Africa’s economic transformation.

I thank you, and look forward to discussing this further with you today.