The Growing Opportunities for African Agricultural Development
"This paper examines how Africa can harness the enormous potential of its “Sleeping Agricultural Giant,” and how possible adverse social and environmental impacts and obstacles can be mitigated. An approach built on smallholder agriculture, with strong private investment in agro-industry, marketing and logistics, has the highest potential for contributing to social development and poverty reduction. After a decade-long period of stagnating or declining per capita incomes and agricultural output, Africa has entered a period of fairly rapid economic and agricultural growth. Macroeconomic stability, improved investment climates, and agricultural incentives — as well as decentralization of rural governance and greater community participation — have contributed to the improved trends. Rising international agricultural prices and expanding market opportunities within Africa will make farming more profitable and create great opportunities for African agriculture to make up lost ground, especially in domestic and regional markets. Challenges for further acceleration of agricultural growth are remaining discrimination against agricultural exports, the (still) poor investment climate, poor infrastructure, and inadequate investment in agricultural research and services."