It was gathered that the power of entrepreneurship and free market economy is driving Africa’s economic growth from food production, as businesses waking 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.
This was the main conclusion from the latest Africa Agriculture Status Report (AASR) launched at this year’s African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) in Cote d’Ivoire.
According to the report, agriculture will be Africa’s quiet revolution, with a focus on SMEs and smallholder farmers creating the high productivity jobs and sustainable economic growth that failed to materialise from mineral deposits and increased urbanisation.
Despite 37 per cent of the population now living in urban centres, 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.
This report shows us that agriculture involving an inclusive transformation that goes beyond the farm to agri-businesses will be Africa’s surest and fastest path to that new level of prosperity,” she said.
To succeed, Africa’s agricultural revolution needs to be very different to those seen in the rest of the world. It requires an inclusive approach that links millions of small farms to agribusinesses, creating extended food supply chains and employment opportunities for millions including those that will transition from farming.