The third and final city visited during the Initiative for Global Development (IGD)’s inaugural Africa Investment Rising Roadshow Tour, sponsored by the East and Southern Africa Trade and Investment Hubs, focused on North American agribusiness. The two-day visit to Iowa started with a tour of the Corteva headquarters, including a two-acre high-tech automated greenhouse, crop gene research and development lab, and seed protection research facility. Corteva is the agriculture division of DowDupont Co and now one of the only U.S.-based agricultural industry giants. Corteva, with approximate revenue of $16 billion, also studies and works to produce pesticides to combat pests such as the Fall Armyworm now menacing crops all over Africa.
Joining the tour was Mark Huisenga of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Bureau of Food Security and dozens of African business leaders.
Day two, hosted by the Iowa State University Research Park, consisted of a panel discussion with major U.S. agricultural firms such as John Deere, Sukup, Corteva, and Trimble and two African businesses—Nigeria-based Hello Tractor and Uganda-based Horyal Investments—that are seeking investments.
Barriers to U.S. investment in Africa centered on African government policies that do not accept genetically modified crop cultivation. So far only four African countries—Burkina Faso, Egypt, Sudan, and South Africa—commercially cultivate genetically modified crops. Other barriers discussed included the differing implementation of similar regulations and entrenched political agendas.
The Hub met with more than a dozen African firms on the sidelines of every city of the roadshow and will soon announce new transactions.