A maize farmer inspects the crop. Regional countries have been urged to support the agriculture sector to improve output.
The World Bank has called on Africa to increase financing to the agriculture amidst economic shocks hitting the continent that saw its growth declining to 3.5 percent last year against 6.1 percent.
The continent’s decline was, according to International Monetary Fund-IMF a result of fall in commodity prices and deteriorating oil prices but Makhtar Diop, Vice-President World Bank, Africa sees this as an opportunity.
“This is a ‘wonderful opportunity’ to invest in agriculture, a sector that has been neglected,” he said during the world Economic Forum on Friday.
He adds, “Efforts need to be made to increase the proportion of land under irrigation, use technology to improve productivity and reduce farmers’ risk levels through insurance and other measures.”
Experts say that although Agriculture contributes a largest percentage to the GDP of African economies, investments flowing to the sector are still below 10 percent.
To avert the challenge both short and long term, Delegates at the forum echoed the need for Africa to look at diversification as well as providing an insight into the risk to give an investor on what it takes to invest on the continent.
“This would give investors comfort and alert them to the benefits of investing on the continent and the good returns that are on offer there,” said Pravin Gordhan, Minister of Finance of South Africa.
But also a focus on boosting regional connectedness and making the continent a single market destination and easing doing business would likely attract more investments in Africa thus spur growth.
“This has increased the region’s attractiveness as an investment destination and stimulated business activity and improved efficiency,” said Amb. Claver Gatete, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning.
The three day forum that closed on Friday May 13 was attended by 1,200 participants from over 70 countries under the theme “Connecting Africa’s Resources through Digital Transformation”.