Agricultural transformation begins to take shape in Africa

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Agricultural transformation is taking shape in some African countries, which have launched initiatives to boost the provision of essential services linked to the agriculture sector. This was the message shared during the opening day of a high-level agricultural summit dedicated to discussions about the sector’s transformation.

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda and Senegal have launched initiatives similar to a fresh proposal by the African Development Bank (AfDB) for the development of “agricultural corridors” that would spur economic growth and development in Africa by creating seamless agricultural markets.

AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina proposed the creation of the agricultural corridors to attract investments into the rural areas of Africa, currently under-served by essential services, roads, irrigation and finance, when he addressed the opening session of the “Feeding Africa” conference in Dakar on Wednesday.

More than 500 delegates, including top government officials, Central Bank Governors, Ministers of Finance and researchers involved in agriculture are attending the October 21-23 meeting on African agricultural transformation to plan how to re-direct useful resources to revitalize agriculture.

“Industries will help to create economic zones in Africa,” the Bank President emphasized. “We must invest in quality rural infrastructure and create the agricultural corridors that would attract investors into the rural areas.”

To attract new agricultural investments into rural areas, Senegalese President Macky Sall announced tax breaks and special status for private companies willing to invest in projects to improve agriculture in rural areas.

“We need individual and collective action to modernize agriculture. We must avoid treating agriculture as a default activity or a by-chance investment,” President Sall said during the opening session of the joint conference organized by the AfDB and hosted by the Senegalese Government.

In his keynote address, Sall called for renewed international effort to modernize agriculture in Africa. He urged Finance Ministers and commercial banks to support efforts to modernize crop production.

“African states have to make agriculture a priority. They have to allocate budgets because agriculture generates economic growth. Abundant harvests drive growth in other sectors and lead to record growth of exports. We need to have dialogue between leaders and bankers to support the processing of these goods,” Sall said.

Augustin Matata Ponyo Mapon, Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo, said his country was investing in US $40 million in an industrial park aiming to improve the production of cereals for export. The Government is also investing funds to build feeder roads to meet the demand for an industrialized agriculture sector.