Addis Ababa: The African Fine Coffees Conference (AFCA) and Exhibition and the First African Coffee Week is a crucial event to elevate African coffee to new heights, Inter-African Coffee Organization (IACO) Chairperson and Agriculture Minister Girma Amente said.
The chairperson made that remark today at the opening of the 20th African Fine Coffees Conference and Exhibition and the First African Coffee Week 2024 at the Millennium Hall in Addis Ababa.
Opening the Conference, he said this First African Coffee Week serves as a platform for knowledge exchange, collaboration, and innovation within the African coffee sector.
It is a momentous event that brings coffee producers, exporters, roasters, traders, and researchers to elevate African coffee to new heights, the chair and minister noted.
Stating that coffee has the power to transform lives, empower communities and drive economic growth, Girma added that it provides livelihoods for millions of small holder farmers and entrepreneurs across Ethiopia and in the continent.
By investing in the sector, member countries can reduce poverty by generating meaningful employment and increase household incomes, he pointed out.
Inter Africa Coffee Organization (IACO) Secretary General Solomon Rutega said the coffee sector is vital for Africa's inclusive growth and prosperity despite the interrelated structural constraints along the value chain.
Accordingly, IACO remains optimistic that with the united multi-stakeholder approach can overcome challenges with time in view of abundant opportunities that exist.
The Africa Coffee Week offers a great opportunity to provide the platform for effective dialogue on increasing coordination and collaboration between the governments and the private sectors of the African coffee producing countries and the global stakeholders representing coffee producing countries, the secretary general stated.
African Union Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Environment, Josefa Sacko, said the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) provides opportune moment to revamp the coffee sector in Africa.
It is one of the largest international free trade area covering at least 55 member countries in Africa, and a market of 1.4 billion consumers with a combined income of 2.5 trillion USD.
Addressing the participants, AFCA Chairperson Amir Hamza also said the conference is the largest coffee conference in Africa.
There is no other conference and exhibition by any other organization like AFCA in the African continent, he added.
Ethiopian Coffee and Tea Authority Director-General Adugna Debela revealed that about 20 million people in Ethiopia deal directly or indirectly in transporting, trading, processing, roasting, exporting coffee, and in various activities along the value chain.
For the director general, the growing role of the private sector in the international economy at large and that of coffee sector in particular is very crucial.
The global coffee price has been declining, but surprisingly Ethiopia earned 1.33 billion USD in 2023 as a result of reforms and the amended rules and regulations.
Source: Ethiopian News Agency