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  • Matt Spencer

Agriculture: The next booming sector – Africa’s Green Revolution

Agriculture: The next booming sector – Africa’s Green Revolution

It’s no secret – agriculture is an important economic activity in Africa. Surprisingly though, Africa currently spends about USD $35 billion per year on food imports and this figure is said to possibly rise to USD $110 billion by 2025. [Source] Something interesting is stirring in the Africa-agriculture sphere. The continent is finally waking up to accelerate agriculture-led economic development more than ever before. There’s a shift in mind-set from agricultural activities and farming in Africa being a way of life to being a business. Investment is being mobilised at an impressive rate, to develop this sector and the prospects are highly exciting for the near future…Africa’s Green Revolution.

Africa’s Green Revolution

The African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) is a platform for global and African leaders to develop actionable plans that will move African agriculture forward. The Forum was established in 2010 and has emerged as Africa’s premier platform that brings together various critical stakeholders in the African agriculture landscape to discuss and develop concrete plans for achieving the green revolution in Africa. [African Green Revolution Forum]

Challenges and risks for Africa

Challenges:

  1. One of the main challenges is to become a self-sufficient continent aimed at becoming a nett agri-product exporter.

  2. Education for food farmers: In order to sustainably raise agricultural productivity farmers should be made aware of new seeds, fertilizers, equipment and advised on basic agricultural practices that may increase or improve yields.

  3. Climate volatility remains a serious risk, which causes many farms across Africa to not produce optimally. [Source]

“You cannot expect zero risk in agriculture; so one of our roles at the Bank is to provide risk guarantees for agribusinesses” Jennifer Blanke, Vice-President of Agriculture, Human & Social Development at the African Development Bank. “This is aimed at reducing the perceived sense of risk on the continent, which exists mainly because of climate change.” [Source]


To date, the financing of agribusiness projects across Africa has in large part been looked after by governments. Development banks in Africa have been at the forefront of Africa agriculture investment. In fact, the African Development Bank (AfDB) has committed to invest US $24 billion into agriculture over the next ten years. Jennifer Blanke has emphasised that financial commitment from the private sector would also be necessary, especially to allow Africa’s Green Revolution to materialise. [Source

[Related article: The role of development banks in Africa’s growth]

CA Global Headhunters has noticed an incredible increase in the number of clients, with interests in agriculture, boosting their staff requirements for projects in various countries across Africa. Jobs in Agriculture in Africa has risen quite significantly. The interesting thing to note is that the investment is not only coming from within Africa but also from companies outside of Africa. Everyone in the know is looking to tap into the Agri-sector in Africa.


Viable Projects to boost Agriculture in Africa

Angola: Sugarcane [Source]

Morocco:  Solar projects [Source]

This project is aimed at promoting the use of solar energy to power water pumps for irrigation. This will help farmers reduce their energy costs and use less butane gas in farming operations.

The Noor Ouarzazate complex in Morocco – the world’s largest solar plant – is expected for completion in 2018 for a total cost of $9 billion.

North Africa: Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco have invested tens of billions of dollars in renewable energy projects – predominantly solar power. These countries have initiated projects utilising solar power to not only reduce the costs of solar technology but also to: [Source]

  1. Scale it for larger use – delivering power out of Africa, into Europe

  2. Enhance energy security

  3. Create cleaner environments

  4. Boost the creation of new business opportunities

Many other African countries are also showing positive growth in their agricultural sectors. Zambia, for example, had a net deficit in maize production 10 years ago, and was now a maize exporter with a surplus of grains. [Farmers Weekly]

Bridging the gap

With investor confidence in Africa increasing this is the time for countries in Africa to enforce a plan for sustainability. There are many expatriates that have being mobilised to assist with training and seeing the projects to completion. Over the next few years however, the trend is to reduce the number of expatriate workforce being utilised. [Source]

Further reading: The age of the millennial

The potential of the agricultural sector in Africa and the need to bridge the gap on food supply is itself a compelling business case for private sector investment. With over 65% of the world’s remaining arable land, a youthful population – with 420 million people between the ages of 15 and 35 years – and a favourable climate, Africa has the potential to become a global agriculture powerhouse and the setting of the next Green Revolution.

Nigeria, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Senegal and Burkina Faso provide valuable examples of successful agriculture transformation. [Source]

Countries in Africa are collectively prioritising investment efforts towards boosting agricultural activities to boost their economies. The private sector as well the public sector are mobilising their assets to bring about Africa’s Green Revolution, which aims to advance Africa’s agricultural productivity.  [Source]

The future colour of gold is definitely green! We cannot hold back our optimism for what the future holds for the long-term growth potential of Agriculture in Africa! 🙂

Can you?

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