Agriculture is ‘Africa’s next big thing’ provided that the continent’s governments would continue to implement the right reforms, policy choices and institutions, but unfortunately, the sector still receives low investment from governments on the continent, a World Bank Vice President has said.
Ms. Obiageli Ezekwesili, the World Bank Vice President for the Africa Region said although agriculture is the source of livelihoods for 70% of Africans, the sector remains underfunded.
She told African ambassadors in the US recently that various governments on the continent need to honor the pledge they made in Maputo in 2002 to provide at least 12% of their national budgets to agriculture.
“African governments, including those of you in diplomatic service, who can be Africa’s best salespersons, need to do their part”, she told the African diplomats.
Africa accounts for more than a quarter of the world’s arable land, and yet currently generates only 10% of global agricultural output, Ms Ezekwesili said.
She indicated that agriculture is “Africa’s next big thing”, provided that governments across the continent continue implementing the right reforms, policy choices and institutions.
Recalling the direct involvement of thousands of Africans in the formulation of the World Bank’s new strategy for Africa, Ms. Ezekwesili pledged that her institution will stay on the side of the poor, helping to create the kind of new partnerships needed by Africans to protect their rights and preserve their dignity and pride.
By Ekow Quandzie