Kenya convening provides networking and investment opportunities for pastoralists

Pastoralists contribute significantly to the economies and food security of many African nations, as they supply most of the meat and dairy products to the continent, yet many pastoralist communities face marginalization and are among those most impacted by climate change. The increasing demand for animal-source food in many African countries has the potential to improve the lives and livelihoods of pastoralist communities, but there has been limited meaningful progress and impact, particularly on a livestock sector-wide basis.

Gbola Adesogan, Director of the Global Food Systems Institute (right) with Nouhoun Zampaligre (left), Coordinator of the EQUIP-FEED Project in Burkina Faso and participant in the convening. Photo: Joshua Wanyama.

As part of efforts to pave the way for increasing investments in the pastoral sector, a convening entitled “Inclusive Investment Opportunities for Unleashing the Power of the Pastoral Sector” was held in Nairobi, Kenya from January 31 to February 2, 2023. This Pan-African convening, hosted by the UF/IFAS Global Food Systems Institute (GFSI) and sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, brought together over 130 representatives from pastoralist communities, private sector players, prospective investors, social entrepreneurs, researchers, and policy makers. The purpose was to bring together a diverse group of stakeholders to pave the way for increasing investments in the pastoral sector” said Gbola Adesogan, GFSI Director. Many participants commented on how the diversity of the participants strengthened the convening, allowing them to interact with stakeholders they had not had the opportunity to meet before.

“This (convening) was different from the others in which I have participated due to the diversity of the participants – breeders, livestock traders, meat exporters, sellers of veterinary products and researchers – as well as the geographical diversity of the participants who came from America, Europe, West and East Africa and the way the convening was organized” said Harouna Abarchi, a pastoralist and president of the A2N pastoralist group.

Participants at the convening engage in discussion. Photo: Joshua Wanyama.

At the convening, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation–funded GFSI-led Market Access for Pastoralists (MAP) project presented findings on best-bet investments to improve marketing of pastoralist livestock and products, and feedback on their validity was solicited from participants. In addition, novel investment plans by the foundation were announced.

“The convening stood out clearly from its composition. Critical stakeholders were brought together and were engaged for a meaningful discussion. The interest and the commitment displayed by everyone present are very assuring that change is near,” said Bamikole Musibau, a professor of Animal Science at the University of Benin, Nigeria. “I had the opportunity of meeting many other stakeholders and that broadened my perspective of the players and opportunities that exist. The meeting further strengthened my belief in the power of collaboration.”

Sessions at the convening included “Transforming pastoralism through innovation”, which discussed opportunities such as mobile finance, insurance, satellite imagery, digital mapping, innovative business models and artificial intelligence. Other sessions covered private sector engagement, climate mitigation and adaptation, inclusive growth and data driven decision making. Participants also had the opportunity to participate in a roundtable with key regional and governmental partners.

Conner Mullaly (far right), Co-Principal Investigator of the MAP project, with participants in the convening. Photo: Joshua Wanyama.

“This convening stood out from others because of the mix of people that attended. In particular, the presence of pastoralists made it unique. I made connections with innovators in the sector as well as researchers at African universities. I hope to follow-up with the connections I made and possibly collaborate on research around investments in the African livestock sector,” said Conner Mullaly, Co-Principal Investigator of the MAP project, associate professor in the University of Florida’s Food and Resource Economics Department and a GFSI faculty member. For more information on this event please visit:

By: Jennifer Johnson, GFSI


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Posted: June 5, 2023

Category: AGRICULTURE, Livestock
Tags: Events, Global Food Systems Institute, Kenya, Market Access For Pastoralists (MAP) Project, Pastoralists

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