Increased American and global investments are key to unlocking Africa’s agricultural sector, African Development Bank (AFDB) has said.
AFBD president Dr. Akinwumi Adesina said that the US government should be at the forefront of efforts to encouraging fertilizer and seed companies, manufacturers of tractors and equipment, irrigation and ICT farm analytics to ramp up their investments in Africa.
“We will be there to support them. That’s why we are launching the Africa Investment Forum, as a 100% transactional platform, to leverage global pension funds and other institutional investors to invest in Africa” he said at the USDA’s 94th Agriculture Outlook Forum in Virginia.
“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 of out of poverty in Africa, while creating wealth and jobs back home right here in America…I do not seek aid for Africa. I seek investments in Africa.” He said.
Adesina appealed to the US private sector to fundamentally change the way it views African agriculture.
“Think about it, 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. ‘’And for good reason: Think of a continent where McKinsey projects household consumption is expected to reach nearly $2.1 trillion and business-to-business expenditure will reach $3.5 trillion by 2025. Think of a continent brimming with 840 million youth, the youngest population in the world, by 2050.”
He told the more than 2,000 delegates that the African Development Bank is spearheading a number of transformative business and agricultural initiatives.
“We are launching the Africa Investment Forum, as a 100% transactional platform, to leverage global pension funds and other institutional investors to invest in Africa in Johannesburg, South Africa from November 7-9.”
The African Development Bank is also pioneering the establishment of Staple Crop Processing Zones in 10 African countries, that are expected to transform rural economies into zones of economic prosperity and save African economies billions of dollars in much need foreign reserves.
“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 industrialization. We must not just focus on primary production but on the development of agricultural value chains,” Adesina added. “That way, Africa will turn from being at the bottom to the top of global value chains.”
In his keynote address U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, said the U.S. Administration has removed more restrictive regulations to agriculture than any other administration. ‘’Our goal is to dismantle restrictions that have eroded agricultural business opportunities.’’