Summits are often diplomatic marathons. But aside from all the roundtables, social events, photo ops and bilateral meetings, leaders can also meet with other partners in order to implement concrete projects.
In Brussels, the minister of finance of the Democratic Republic of the Congo signed an agreement with a consulting firm and the French development agency (AFD). Under it, €600,000 will be allocated to developing a national digital infrastructure development plan in the country.
The Congolese government says a digital transition will benefit several sectors of society, like agriculture, which is vital to the country’s economy. This sector employs over 60 percent of Congolese, according to the International Trade Administration. "What we need to do first is to put agriculture back in its place. It is decreasing, because we are a mining county, says Nicolas Kazadi, DRC's Minister of Finance, The ambition of the government is to turn things around, to make sure that agriculture and the agro-industry regain their place and to do so we need farmers, large and small, who use modern methods to reinforce their productivity".
How to build sustainable agri-food systems is also on the agenda of European and African leaders in Brussels. Hunger and malniutrition remain rampant in many parts of the world. And developing new methods of agriculture will require significant changes.
"There is a range of innovative practices that could really be made much more visible and accessible, explains Paul Walton, the executive director of the Africa-Europe Foundation,We know that in pockets across Africa and Europe there are fantastic areas around sustainable agri-food systems, the way regenerative agriculture is taking place, but they are less visible and less accessible to the kind of finance and sustainable support that’s needed as well".
And time is ticking. The worsening effects of climate change are being felt across the African continent, further endangering food sovereignty, and putting millions at risk.