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AGA2022 Interviews: Ayodeji Balogun (AFEX)

Short interviews by the Platform Secretariat during the 2022 Annual General Assembly in Rome, Italy.

Five experts talk about national pathways for food systems transformation, the current global food crisis response, and what they want small-scale farmers and the younger generation to know.

Ayodeji Balogun is the Chief Executive Officer of AFEX Commodities Exchange. He was a panellist during the first session of the AGA2022.

What could you tell us about the private sector funding and implementing the national pathways in food systems?

Ayodeji: Food systems is extremely important. You know we must, as a generation, get it right to ensure that we can continue to live, have vitality, but also the economy behind food systems. I do see that private sectors are - right from the producer to the logistics, the value chain to the final processors and the end consumer of the food itself - the private sector is indeed the largest investor in food systems. We must continue to foster new ways to drive innovative finance that will trickle down to the smallholder farmers precisely, particularly in Africa. Small-scale farmers produce 80% of the food we consume and essentially are the most critical investors in the food system. We must find solutions for them and address their challenges and allow them to grow these foods profitably.

©IFAD/Daniele Bianchi

What would you like to say to the smallholder farmers and to the younger generation? What do you think it should give them hope for tomorrow?

Ayodeji: Food security is probably the biggest problem our generations will have. Be able, be an actor, be a player. First, create a big opportunity for you to build your business and grow. Second, you're in the middle of solving one of our generation’s biggest problems, so you should do it with pride, with dignity, and you shall find pleasure and earnings from this.

What would you like the donor community to get out of the ongoing annual General Assembly of the global donor platform for rural development?

Ayodeji: In the ongoing donor platform conversations that we've had, starting today, one word that is sort of featured very often is being catalytic. How can you know every dollar catalyses ten times more of additional private sector investments, to solve the problems around the SDGs? And how can we ensure we have food systems that work? How can donors be more catalytic, foster co-creation and inclusion in creating solutions for the food systems?


Ayodeji Balogun | AFEX Commodities Exchange | AGA2022 Panellist

This video is a recording of the interview, conducted by the Secretariat of the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development during the Annual General Assembly in Rome, 15 June 2022.

Contact | GDPRD

Michelle Tang

Secretariat Communications Coordination Analyst

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