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Thursday, 7 December 2017

Import substitution through agriculture as an engine of job creation in Africa

The key to a prosperous future for African countries lies in supporting the agricultural sector, Agnes Kalibata writes for the FT. She notes that around 70% of African citizens depend directly on agriculture for their livelihoods, while the continent as a whole relies heavily on imported food that could be switched out for local alternatives. Kalibata says that turning away from being net food importers in favor of building strong economies “on the back of a strong foundation in agriculture” requires enacting legislation and policies that support agriculture and improving infrastructure.

Agriculture as an engine of job creation? Build technical competency in farmers, she writes, and the USD 40 bn African countries spend annually on food import could be “invested to produce food within Africa, [creating] employment for more than 11 mn young people each year, paying them wages equivalent to what they would get in Europe,” Kalibata says. The continent’s food market is currently valued at USD 300 bn and projected to rise to USD 1 tn by 2030, making for a business opportunity that would also “build wealth and prosperity.”

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