Africa > Southern Africa > Botswana > H.E. President Alassane Ouattara and the theme of “Accelerating Africa’s Path to Prosperity

Botswana: H.E. President Alassane Ouattara and the theme of “Accelerating Africa’s Path to Prosperity

2017/09/09

This year, under the leadership of H.E. President Alassane Ouattara and the theme of “Accelerating Africa’s Path to Prosperity: Growing Inclusive Economies and Jobs through Agriculture”, the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) 2017 is shaping up as a premier platform to showcase ongoing evolution in Africa’s agricultural transformation schedule and to scale up the political, policy, and financial commitments needed to achieve the Malabo Declaration and the world development schedule around the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Following the launch of the landmark annual Africa Agriculture Status Statement (ASSR) at the AGRF taking place in Cote d’Ivoire from 4-8 September 2017, the major conclusion centres around the power of entrepreneurs and the free market in driving Africa’s economic increase from food production. This is owing to the fact that a lot of businesses are waking up to opportunities of a rapidly growing food market in Africa that may be worth additional than $1 trillion each year by 2030 to substitute imports with high price food made in Africa.

According to the statement, agriculture will be Africa’s quiet revolution, with a focus on SMEs and smallholder farmers creating the high productivity jobs and sustainable economic increase that failed to materialise from mineral deposits and increased urbanisation. Despite 37 % of the people presently 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 additional than half of the continent’s GDP. Smart investments in the food system can change this picture dramatically if planned correctly.

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 statement 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,” said Dr. Agnes Kalibata, President of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) which commissioned the study.

To succeed, Africa’s agricultural revolution needs to be very different to those seen in the rest of world. It requires an inclusive approach that links millions of small farms to agribusinesses, creating extended food supply chains and employment opportunities for millions inclunding those that will transition from farming.

The statement highlights the opportunity for Africa to feed the continent with food made in Africa that meets the growing request of affluent, fast growing urban populations on the continent looking for high price processed and pre-cooked foods. Furthermore, it advocates that this opportunity should be met by a lot of of the continent’s existing smallholder farmers. Currently part of this growing request for Africa’s food is met by imports. These all to $35bn p.a. and are expected to cost $110bn by 2025 unless Africa improves the productivity and world competiveness of its agribusiness and agriculture sectors.

The statement as well acknowledges that the private sector holds the key to the transformation of the food system so far. “Impressive price addition and employment is being created by SMEs along price chains in the form of increased agricultural trade, farm servicing, agro processing, urban retailing and food services. Large agribusinesses like seed companies, agro processors and supermarkets are as well playing an increasing role in the food price chain in a lot of regions,” said Dr Peter Hazell (IFPRI), the technical director of the statement.

However, the study is clear that left to the private sector alone, increase in the agrifood system will not be as fast as it could, nor will it benefit as a lot of smallholder farmers and SMEs as it could. Government support is needed to both stimulate and guide the transition. As a high priority, governments need to create an enabling business environment and in particular, meet targets to invest ten % of GDP in agriculture, agreed at the 2003 African Union (AU) Summit as part of The Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).

The statement urges governments to nurture a globally competitive food production sector through measures such as increasing infrastructure investment in secondary cities and towns, improving the reliability of energy and water supplies, building additional wholesale market spaces, promoting open regional trade, identifying and investing in initial mover crops and introducing stricter standards for food safety and quality. During the launch, Dr Hazell stressed the role of the government in advancing the business of smallholder agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa. “The government needs to not only create an enabling environment, but as well be proactive in providing smallholder farmers with the right all of support that could link them to sustainable price chains,” he said.

The authors call on governments to stimulate new private public partnerships for additional innovative financing and insurance provision which can lead to increased resilience for farmers and their households. While globally agricultural insurance is a $2 billion business, Africa accounts for less than two % of the market.

In conclusion, authors of the statement note that although evolution 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 precious market for food made in Africa will spark widespread political will and attract the best business talent to build a high price food sector,” said Peter Hazell. “This private public partnership will be essential to provide the trinity of high productivity employment, sustainable economic increase and food made in Africa for Africa and the world.”

Governments need to increase their investments in agriculture and rural infrastructure in line with their 10 % CAADP commitment.Legislation and regulations that boost regional trade in agricultural products will make a significant contribution to the increase of Africa’s food production sector and have a tangible impact on reducing poverty.

Related Articles
  • Why a proper record of birds in Africa is so important – for Europe

    2018/01/13 Most of Europe’s birds chief south each year around September to escape the northern winter. Some species only migrate as far south as southern Europe. But most cross the Mediterranean Sea to Africa. And a lot of species cross the Sahara Desert to destinations in West Africa such as Nigeria and in East Africa, such as Kenya. Some travel as far south as South Africa. These European birds are diligently monitored. Each April, during the breeding season in the early part of the northern summer, teams of citizen scientists in most European nations gather vast amounts of data on the distribution and densities of breeding – for almost each bird species. Thousands of citizen scientists are involved. They diligently generate the data in their leisure time.
  • Toothless Pan-African Parliament could have meaningful powers

    2018/01/13 The Pan-African Parliament was established by the African Union in 2004. Since again it has not passed a single law. That’s because it’s based on a Protocol that gives it only an advisory role. The parliament can gather data and discuss it, but can’t make binding regulations to change anything. Its limited “consultative and advisory powers” hamper the African Union’s ability to achieve a prosperous and peaceful Africa as envisioned in its Schedule 2063. Is there any point, again, in having this parliament? The 2001 Protocol envisaged that a conference would be organised to “review the operation and effectiveness” of the protocol five years next the establishment of the Parliament, which was 2009. This provision gave rise to the view that such a conference would explore the possibility of granting the Parliament meaningful legislative powers. But no such review has been carried out so far.
  • The EU-Africa summit is now the AU-EU summit. Why the upgrade matters

    2018/01/13 African and European heads of government gathered last week in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, for their 5th summit since 2000. For the initial time, the African Union (AU) rather than “Africa”, officially appears as the European Union’s partner. While plenty has been discussed about youth, migration, security and governance less is being said about the shift from an EU-Africa to an AU-EU summit. Is this just a case of semantics? Next all, the AU has been the key organiser of these triennial summits since they started in 2000. Or are there larger implications? We think there are. The AU-EU summit coincided with the January 2017 statement on the reform of the African Union prepared by Rwandan President Paul Kagame. The statement recommends rationalising “Africa’s” a lot of international partnerships by having the continental body take the lead. This means that the previous, current and next AU chairpersons, plus the AU Commission chairperson and the chairperson of the Regional Economic Communities, would represent the AU, rather than all its member states.
  • World food prices up 8.2% in 2017

    2018/01/13 World food prices rose by 8.2 % in 2017 compared to 2016, the UN's food agency said on Friday (Jan 12). The Food and Agriculture Organisation said that its FAO Food Price Index averaged 174.6 points in 2017, the highest annual average since 2014. In December alone, however, the index - a measure of the monthly change in international prices of a basket of food commodities - stood at 169.8 points, down 3.3 % from November, the FAO said in a statement.
  • Ethiopia: Praising Record Feat, Lagarde Emphatic Calling for Reforms

    2018/01/06 The Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Christine Lagarde, is to arrive in Addis Abeba today, to start what is a historic visit by the Fund’s most senior official since its founding next the Second World War. She will be talking to Ethiopian authorities, inclunding Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, on issues of macroeconomic stability and monetary policy matters. In her exclusive interview with (Addis) Fortune, Lagarde praised Ethiopia’s economic performance of the completed few years as “strong” with “positive Prospects”. However, she would like to see Ethiopian authorities exercise restraints in “public spending” while urged them – rather emphatically – to control borrowing from overseas to finance public projects and strengthen export competitiveness.