This week Rwanda is hosting 2021 annual meetings of the Inter-African Coffee Organisation (IACO), which will take place for three days from 16th to 18th November 2021 at Kigali Convention Centre. They include the 14th African Coffee Research Network (ACRN) bi-annual meetings, the 9th African Coffee Symposium, and the 61st IACO Annual General Assembly.
Hosted in rotation among its twenty-five member states, the annual forums of IACO bring together delegates from the member states, officials from IACO, researchers, businesses operating in the coffee sector, and policymakers among other participants in order to emphasize the impact of coffee in the socio-economic transformation of the wellbeing of African coffee farmers. Speakers on behalf of member states use this platform to discuss and find different solutions to the important issues that African coffee producers face.
Rwanda’s Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources who is also the chairperson of IACO, Dr. Gerardine Mukeshimana, said that Africa coffee-producing countries must ensure the transformation of the coffee industry from subsistence to a modern one.
“Our countries need to adopt new coffee policies that will ensure the sustainability of the coffee sector in Africa. This requires increasing production, improved quality, local processing, and consumption of coffee in Africa. To achieve this, we aim at ‘strengthening the coffee value chain for sustainable development of the economy and improve living incomes of African producers’ – which is the theme for this conference,” she said.
In his remarks, H.E Hailemariam Desalegn, the former Prime Minister of Ethiopia and the Patron of IACO, reminded the conference that if African coffee-producing countries have to take a step forward, through collaboration and partnerships that focus on value addition across the coffee chain: “As Africa, we have the capacity and authority to make the coffee sector what we want it to be…” and IACO will greatly enhance the competitiveness of African coffee when we work together to address all the issues that the industry faces today.
In his remarks, the Secretary General of IACO, Amb. Solomon Rutega expressed optimism that the Drink African Coffee Build Africa (DACBA) initiative will support the industrialization of the African coffee sector and create employment for the youth.
About 300 delegates who are expected at the meetings, including representatives of renowned coffee companies participating in the forums, will have an opportunity to taste the Rwandan Specialty Coffee, undertake field visits, and tour the city of Kigali.