President of the African Development Bank, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, has called for increased investment in the African agriculture sector. Dr. Adesina appeals to American and global investments in the hopes that it will aid in unlocking Africa’s agricultural potential.
Speaking as the Distinguished Guest Speaker at USDA’s 94th Agriculture Outlook Forum in Virginia on the 22nd of February 2018, Adesine said that, ‘’For too long, agriculture has been associated with what I call the three Ps – pain, penury, and poverty. The fact though is that agriculture is a huge wealth-creating sector that is primed to unleash new economic opportunities that will lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty.”
Dr Adesina further argues that the U.S private sector needs to change the way it views the African agriculture sector. “Think about it, the size of the food and agriculture market in Africa will rise to U.S. $ 1 trillion by 2030. This is the time for U.S. 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.”
Dr. Adesina greatly appeals to the U.S government to change the tide of African agriculture by encouraging investment in Africa. He said, “As the nation that first inspired me and then welcomed me with open arms, permit me to say that 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 out of poverty in Africa, while creating wealth and jobs back home right here in America.”
“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.”
He ends by saying, “Together, let our roots of prosperity grow downwards and bear fruit upwards. As we do, rural Africa and rural America will brim with new life, much like I witnessed in Indiana, during my time as a graduate student in America. Then, we will have changed the 3 ‘Ps’ to – Prosperity, Prosperity and Prosperity!”
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