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Agriculture projects in Africa have to be bankable: AfDB

Jennifer Blanke, vice-president of Agriculture, Human and Social Development at the AfDB, has stated that Africa’s agriculture projects need to be bankable and incentivised to attract private investors and create employment opportunities

Blanke said this at the 7th African Green Revolution Forum, held in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, from 4-8 September 2017.

“Traditionally there is an expectation for big agricultural projects from governments. Now more than ever we need to recognise that financing from the private sector is also necessary for Africa’s green revolution to take shape,” she said.

“We are looking at technologies for agriculture which are available but tend not to get to the farmers because there are no private investors to bridge the gap,” she added.

The AfDB is planning to invest US$24bn in the next 10 years to achieve a prosperous green revolution in Africa. Blanke further called on organisations and governments to offer guarantees and insurances for agribusiness.

According to her, “If investors can also step in to provide guarantees when disruptions, such as drought and crop diseases occur, then agriculture investment on the continent would be safeguarded.”

Mamadou Sengafowa Coulibaly, minister of agriculture and rural development of Côte d’Ivoire, emphasised that large flows of investments in agriculture can possibly boost up development in the region.

He said, “Africa is the cradle of humanity. We have a lot of natural resources, but more than 50 years after independence, Africa is the place where we have the largest number of poor people in the world.”

Coulibaly added, “The value chain in agriculture has to enable smallholder farmers to have more money. If we want the youth to take a keen interest in a profitable agriculture, farmers should not be considered as mere producers of raw materials, but be involved in the value addition process.”