Each year, the African Development Bank produces an economic outlook for the continent. It analyses the state of African economies and highlights key socio-economic challenges and progress made.
The 2018 outlook was presented in January to the African Union – a symbol of the cooperation between the two organisations and their joint vision to drive economic growth - and it provides some key insights for agriculture.
Economic growth in Africa
According to the report, Africa’s economies grew on average by 2.2
Although the agriculture sector is still the most dominant source of employment and typically one of the largest industry sectors in a country, productivity remains slow. Agriculture accounts for about 51
But, productivity remains stubbornly slow. During the last decade cereal yields increased by 164
Shifting labour market
People are slowly changing the way they work in Africa. A movement away from traditional, subsistence, low-productivity sectors to modern high-productivity sectors will be a key part of the continent’s growth. This will require creating more jobs in modern agriculture, industry and services. But also implementing policies that empower poor, vulnerable and low-skilled workers so that they can take advantage of emerging opportunities. Historically in Asia and Latin America, labour shifted from agriculture to services and in Europe and North America from industry to services whereas Africa has seen very little movement.
Wages in agriculture are low. Lower than wages in industry and services. The report states that almost 84
Improving agricultural productivity
The poor performance of the agriculture sector across Africa is partly a result of
To improve productivity there is an urgent need to link agriculture with other sectors and to invest in building and strengthening agricultural value chains, which are the key to linking farmers, traders, food processors, and retailers all together in a chain that adds value to the products it creates and generates income at each stage. This will improve incomes and livelihoods, particularly for smallholder farmers. Bottlenecks to this chain need to be removed and market failures addressed.
Agriculture has huge potential to provide high-productivity jobs, create wealth, and propel economic growth in Africa, especially if countries can reduce food imports and expand agricultural exports. If this growth can be made inclusive then there is also the huge potential of driving down poverty. The report outlines three key interventions that could unleash this potential: ensuring egalitarian access to land; facilitating the use of modern inputs by improving access to credit; and strengthening the ability to develop and adapt agricultural technologies.
The president of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina said “agriculture must be at the forefront of Africa’s industrialisation” and we agree, but this will require adequate investment and inclusive economic growth.
The opinions represented in this blog do not necessarily reflect those of individual Malabo Montpellier Panel members and their organizations.