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Adesina urges America to support African agriculture as a business

The president of the African Development Bank Dr Akinwumi Adesina has urged that global investment is needed to unlock Africa’s agriculture potential

ADI SensAkinwumi Adesina, president of the AfDB, and Sonny Perdue, secretary of agriculture. (Image source: AfDB)

He spoke this at the USDA’s 94th Agriculture Outlook Forum in Virginia.

According to Adesina, “For too long, agriculture has been associated with what I call the three Ps - pain, penury, and poverty. The fact though is that agriculture is a huge wealth-creating sector that is primed to unleash new economic opportunities that will lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty.”

Adesina appealed to the US private sector to fundamentally change the way it views African agriculture.

“The size of the food and agriculture market in Africa will rise to US$1 trillion by 2030. This is the time for US agri-businesses to invest in Africa,” he said.

He also said that McKinsey projects household consumption is expected to reach about US$2.1 trillion and business-to-business expenditure will reach US$3.5 trillion by 2025, thus strengthening Africa’s potential to attract more investment the sector.

Adesina also urged the US government to encourage fertiliser and seed companies, manufacturers of tractors and equipment, irrigation and ICT farm analytics to ramp up their investments on the continent.

“As the nation that first inspired me and then welcomed me with open arms, permit me to say that I am here to seek a partnership with America, a genuine partnership to help transform agriculture in Africa, and by so doing unlock the full potential of agriculture in Africa, unleash the creation of wealth that will lift millions out of poverty in Africa, while creating wealth and jobs back home right here in America,” he explained.

The AfDB is planning to launch Africa Investment Forum, as a 100 per cent transactional platform, to leverage global pension funds and other institutional investors to invest in Africa in Johannesburg from November 7-9 2018.

The World Bank, International Finance Corporation, the Inter-American Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Islamic Development Bank will partner with the African Investment Forum to de-risk private sector investments.

The AfDB has also established Staple Crop Processing Zones in 10 African countries, which are expected to transform rural economies into zones of economic prosperity and save African economies.

“We must now turn the rural areas from zones of economic misery to zones of economic prosperity. This requires a total transformation of the agriculture sector. At the core of this must be rapid agricultural industrialisation. We must not just focus on primary production but on the development of agricultural value chains,” Adesina concluded.

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