AfDB President Donald Kaberuka presses leaders on how to spur agribusiness in Africa

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Increasing agribusiness in Africa was the focus of a panel discussion moderated by African Development Bank Group President Donald Kaberuka on Sunday at “Believe in Africa Day,” a forum taking place ahead of the US-African Leader's Summit this week in Washington, DC.

“How do we work together to increase agribusiness investments now that the policies are in place? That is the question,” Kaberuka said. As part of the panel on realizing a new vision for Africa’s development, African agricultural leaders from Cameroon, Madagascar and Guinea, along with industry executives, fielded pointed questions from Kaberuka on food security, the use of subsidies to fuel growth and the need for regional integration when it comes to agricultural expansion on the continent.

Kaberuka questioned Guinea’s Minister of Agriculture, Jacqueline Sultan, about why her country is not a more successful model for agribusiness growth given its rich resources including land and people. She replied that “the willingness is there,” but land and water coordination has proved to be a stumbling block. “Other than the water,” Sultan said, “infrastructure and roads are expensive to build” and that, along with “a lack of financing, prevents agri growth.”

When asked about how harmful or helpful subsidies to farmers in Africa have been over the years, International Finance Corporation Vice-President for Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Jean Philippe Prosper, told Kaberuka that there have been some missteps in administering them. But, Prosper said, “we provide subsidies to small farmers but we will only do it for a period of time. There is an exit plan so it becomes self-sustainable.”

"Believe in Africa" is an African Diaspora-led initiative founded by former U.S. Congressional staffers and African leaders in the U.S. to empower young Africans, educate policy-makers about economic growth on the continent and highlight its gradual rise in the global economy.

Kaberuka is currently serving his second five-year term as AfDB President. He was first elected in 2005, becoming the seventh President of the Bank Group since its establishment in 1963.

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