The great and the good of Africa’s coffee industry have gathered together in Angola, to take part in the 55th general assembly of the Inter-Africa Coffee Organisation (IACO).
Held over the course of this week in Angola’s capital Luanda, the event will allow people to analyse current continental coffee policies relating to production, processing and modernisation.
There’ll also be a chance for industry specialists to cast a reflective (and hopefully critical) eye back on work done and initiated over the past two years.
Importantly, alongside the retrospective inspection of all active coffee schemes, leaders and important figures will also meet to discuss issues surrounding gender inequalities as well as the integration of women within the coffee sector.
One source, who wished to remain unidentified, told regional press that despite the majority of foodstuffs, including coffee, being produced by women, recognition within industries is lacking.
This past year we’ve seen a number of projects get off the ground that are based around equalising current gender imbalances.
Confectionary giant Nestle has been running a series of educational and training courses to encourage diversity within the coffee industry in Kenya. The company has focused their efforts upon teaching women and youngsters practical skills that will hopefully allow them to take up leading roles within cooperatives and societies.
It is a similar story in Uganda where the domestic body NUCAFE, with the aid of USAID, has been investing in gender advocacy campaigns.
Clearly, the issue is a topical one at the moment for Africa. And rightly so.
Joao Ferreira Neto, the director of Angola’s National Coffee Institute, announced that there will also be a meeting of the Africa Network for Coffee Research at some point in the next few days.
The first ever Inter-Africa Coffee Organisation was established in December 1960 in the Madagascan capital of Antananarivo.