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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Investments in agriculture will unlock prosperity in Africa – IFAD President

The President of the United Nations (UN's) International Fund For Agricultural Development (IFAD), Dr. Kanayo Nwanze, has told African leaders that investments in agriculture have the capacity to unlock prosperity of the continent, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Nwanze in a message to African leaders participating in the ongoing World Economic Forum (WEF) in Kigali that he is optimistic that such investment which must be a collaborative one between government and businesses will grow Africa tremendously.

"Investments in agriculture can generate great riches for the continent and lift millions out of poverty and hunger," said Nwanze en route to Rwanda. "There are high returns to those countries that take agriculture seriously."

Since 2009, he said, Africa has been seen as the next great investment frontier yet, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), economic growth on the continent is now predicted to be slower than the rest of the world for the first time in sixteen years.

He emphasised that with many countries in southern and eastern Africa suffering from the worst drought in decades, coupled with fiscal deficits widening and conflicts increasing, some experts are questioning whether Africa is still on the rise.

Despite these dire predictions, Nwanze said Africa is still a continent of unprecedented opportunity, and supporting small-scale farmers and investing in rural areas are some of the best ways for countries to meet their broader development objectives, including poverty reduction.

“With the right investments, Africa could double its agricultural productivity in the next five years,” he said, stressing that half of the world's uncultivated land which is suited for growing food crops is in Africa.

"We need to work together to harness the continent's potential and this means investing in small-scale farmers who are the backbone of African agriculture," Nwanze said.

Isaac Oyimah/GEE
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