Whether for profit or social motives - and often both - an increasing number of investors are targeting opportunities in African agriculture. At the same time innovative approaches for deploying aid to support farming businesses linked to smallholders are emerging. This blog provides a snapshot of who is doing what, where and how.

7 January 2011

Africa set to grow faster than Asia

By Chris Isaac, AgDevCo

Latest projections from The Economist suggest Africa will grow faster than Asia over the next five years. What is especially impressive is that, of the ten fastest growing economies in the world, seven are expected to be in Africa.

The challenge is to ensure that growth brings poverty reduction. Countries like Mozambique and Tanzania have experienced strong growth in recent years, but only limited reductions in rural poverty, mainly because of low agricultural productivity.

There is an increasing body of economic evidence based on the experience of Asian countries such as Vietnam (e.g. see here), which shows that growth in agriculture is the most effective way of boosting the incomes of the poorest.

Without more investment in agricultural productivity, the African growth story of the next few years is likely to disappoint those hoping to see sharp falls in poverty.