… as Meals Replace Minerals to Restart African Economic Growth, New Report By Jimoh Babatunde; Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire. The Africa Agriculture Status Report (AASR), launched today at this year’s African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, has identified Agriculture as Africa’s quiet revolution, with a focus on SMEs and smallholder farmers creating the high productivity jobs and sustainable economic growth that failed to materialize from mineral deposits and increased urbanization.
The report says that the power of entrepreneurs and the free market is driving Africa’s economic growth from food production, as business wakes up to opportunities of a rapidly growing food market in Africa, that may be worth more than $1 trillion each year by 2030 to substitute imports with high value food made in Africa. Adding that despite 37 percent of the population now living in urban centers, most jobs have been created in lower paid, less productive services rather than in industry, with this service sector accounting for more than half of the continent’s GDP. Smart investments in the food system can change this picture dramatically if planned correctly. Commenting on this year’s report findings, Dr. Agnes Kalibata, President of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) which commissioned the study said: “Africa has the latent natural resources, skills, human and land capacity to tip the balance of payments and move from importer to exporter by eating food made in Africa.
The report’s authors conclude that although progress is being made, Africa needs to pick up the pace if it is to compete globally and turn itself from importer to exporter by feeding its people with food made in Africa. “Hopefully the prize of a rapidly growing and valuable market for food made in Africa will spark widespread political will and attract the best business talent to build a high value food sector,” said Peter Hazell. “This private public partnership will be essential to provide the trinity of high productivity employment, sustainable economic growth and food made in Africa for Africa and the world.”