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‘Innovation key to food security challenges in Africa’

by Haruna Gimba
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By Muhammad Amaan

The Permanent Representative of Barbados to the United Nations and World Trade Organisation, Ambassador Matthew Wilson, has described innovation as a solution to food security challenges facing third-world countries.

He stated this on Friday at the Divasity’s unveiling of the new WTO CEO, Thokozile Nkechi James, and the launch of the Divasity-WTO Funding and Market Readiness Programme.

Divasity is a business development start-up with a vision to empower entrepreneurs with access to capital, resources and a global market.

The event was graced by industry leaders, stakeholders, and other important dignitaries.

Wilson stated, “The future is youth. The future is innovation. The future is Divasity. The future is the South-South cooperation, and the future is small businesses.”

Highlighting the significance of the Divasity-WTO Funding and Market Readiness Programme, he said, “This project was submitted to the 2023 ICC, ITC, WTO, MSME, group small business champions. And when it was reviewed, the project caught the review team’s immediate attention with its energy and ambition, which now that I have met the full team reflects the energy and the ambition that you have.”

Wilson emphasised the importance of supporting small businesses and entrepreneurship, particularly in the agribusiness sector, saying, “Food security, as you know, especially in developing countries, is a real and urgent problem.

“We’ve seen the challenges from supply chain disruptions, coming from the pandemic, climate change, and geopolitics. And we need to innovate with and include every actor, big or small when it comes to food production.

“We all know we cannot keep doing things the same way, especially in agribusiness field. The climate crisis demands that we operate differently. So support for entrepreneurship, support for entrepreneurs is going to be a fundamental conduit to building and scaling up solutions.

“This sector is ripe for technological innovation if the tools and the understanding are there and this is what the Divasity project is providing.”

Meanwhile, in a statement on Saturday, the co-founder of Divasity, Chigozie Ubanagu, noted that other dignitaries also shared inspiring accounts of agricultural development initiatives and pivotal global insights from their wealth of knowledge and expertise.

“The launch of Divasity-WTO Funding and Market Readiness Programme heralded a groundbreaking initiative aimed at empowering small-scale farmers across Nigeria.

“With a focus on inclusivity, accessibility and sustainability, the program promises to revolutionize the agricultural sector, driving positive change and economic empowerment for all,” he stated.

Speaking after the event, the founder of Divasity, Adeola Adebayo, said, “Tonight was more than just a celebration; it was a testament to the power of entrepreneurship and the limitless potential of those who dare to dream.

“With Thokozile Nkechi at the helm and our new program poised to make waves, the future has never looked brighter for Divasity.”

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