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4 Growth Corridors

At the time these recommendations were presented, the first African agricultural growth corridor was in the making through the formation of an international consortium in 2008, working to establish the Beira Agricultural Growth Corridor (BAGC), and discussions were underway to initiate the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT).

The AGC is an initiative that was initially conceived by Yara but subsequently developed in close cooperation with a number of partners, not least the government of Norway, AgDevCo and Prorustica,[1] and with the strong support of both the Tanzanian and Mozambican governments, and bilateral partners as well as multilateral donors including NORAD, NORFUND, USAID, DFID, AGRA World Bank, and FAO.[2] Other institutions including TransFarms, Tanzanian Agricultural Partnership, and the NEPAD Business Foundation also played key roles. The concept was originally presented by Yara at the Business Call to Action meeting hosted by the United Kingdom and the UNDP in May 2008, and launched at the private sector forum of the UN General Assembly in September 2008. Since then the initiative has gone on to include not only critical government support – with the individual heads of state in both countries personally championing the framework – but also with strong buy-in from a range of local and international companies and organizations. The initiative has been endorsed by African regional institutions and governments, and support has been rallied through the World Economic Forum (WEF) New Vision for Agriculture. The WEF wasused as a

platform to launch the respective investment blueprints: for the BAGC at the Africa regional meeting in Dar es Salaam, May 2010; and for the SAGCOT at the annual meeting in Davos, January 2011.

The basic idea of the AGC is to catalyze the development of rural areas by fostering sustainable agricultural development through value chains with agricultural clusters along existing trunk infrastructure corridors, establishing transformative public-private partnerships and using catalytic financing to attract capital from domestic and international, public and private sources. Relating to the African rural reality, it emphasizes the critical involvement and inclusion of the smallholder sector. Building on the platform initiated at the African Green Revolution conferences, we picked public-private partnerships as the favored strategy to increase investments in the continent's agricultural sector in general, and the corridors in particular. The sector at large as well as the specific corridors calls for large-scale investments covering a range of elements and involving a great number of stakeholders, locally and in a regional perspective. The corridor model is a way of breaking an impasse and catalyzing large volumes of private investments, enabling rural regions to develop and local agriculture to become sustainable – and internationally competitive.

It also provides a framework for other development agendas. Already institutions such as the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) have focused much of their breadbasket strategy into these two areas in these countries, while the USAID Feed the Future has also agreed in Tanzania to focus much of its investment into the SAGCOT area to ensure that that the subsequent synergies can be maximized to demonstrate the return on investment potential underpinning the corridor approach.

  • [1] AgDevCo is a not-for-profit distribution agricultural development company investing “social venture capital” to create commercially viable agribusiness investments oppor tunities, i.a. by taking out front-end risks. Prorustica is a consultancy specializing in fostering growth in agricultural commodity markets through creating partnerships.
  • [2] Among the first financial supporters of the development of BAGC and SAGCOT were the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, the Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries, the World Bank, USAID, DFID.
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