Agriculture is at the heart of Africa's development: 7 in every 10 Africans rely on agriculture for their livelihoods. While Africa has enjoyed impressive growth rates for over a decade, this growth has barely touched the millions living on the land. Africa has yet to experience the agricultural miracle that has transformed other developing regions.
Yet Africa has vast agricultural potential, and most of the technologies required to boost yields are already at hand. With the right policies and investments, African agriculture could readily become an engine for inclusive growth across the continent.
The African Development Bank’s (AfDB) work in agriculture has delivered a wide range of benefits to farmers: better seeds, irrigation and sustainable technologies, and greater access to finance and to markets. Bank projects have increased yields, production levels and incomes for farmers, resulting in more dynamic local economies. We recognise, however, that much more needs to be done.
Total investment in African agriculture is still well short of the levels required to deliver fundamental change and prosperity. Africa’s rapid rates of population growth and urbanization are creating vast unmet demands for food and agricultural products. The continent needs a major injection of both public and private finance into all stages of the agricultural value chain, using finance in smarter ways to create dynamic enterprises throughout the sector and markets. This must include both small- and large-scale agribusinesses, to ensure that agricultural development generates inclusive growth.
This is the right time for a big and sustained push on agriculture. That’s why the Bank has made the transformation of this sector, one of its five top priorities (the “High5s”), along with light up and power Africa, industrialize Africa, integrate Africa and improve the quality of life of the people of Africa.
For our part, working with African governments, other development partners and the private sector, the Bank has refocused its assistance on transforming agriculture and agribusiness by 2025. We are working to create better returns to farmers and agribusinesses, including more opportunities for women and young people, while promoting improved food security and nutrition across the continent.