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8 Investment Opportunity

Investments in infrastructure alone will not alone transform the agriculture sector and bring the necessary investment. There needs to be considerable attention in developing the kinds of integrated models that will take African agriculture to scale in a sustainable and responsible way. At the same time, any sustainable agricultural development strategy in Africa should also consider the nature of the continent and those who will live there in 20 years.

Transforming Africa's smallholder farmers into a viable economic force and allowing them to form part of market-orientated value chains is one of the biggest challenges we currently face. At the same time this challenge also represents a massive investment opportunity. The agricultural growth corridor model, is by no means the only model and for African agriculture to truly meet its potential a range of different models will need to be developed and compliment each other. It does set out just such a 20-year vision and the kind of integrated investment framework that would make such a transformation possible. By promoting an integrated approach to agricultural development that sees clusters of development being overlaid on to existing infrastructure backbone networks and using catalytic financing and patient capital to runlock greater amounts of local and international investment and to ensure this is done in a sustainable and responsible manner will be critical to ensuring Africa meets its own long term agricultural growth projections. As development within each cluster reaches a critical mass involving both smallholder and commercial farm development, it is expected that the corridor areas will experience a virtuous agricultural growth cycle with increased investment leading to more production, generating a supply chain response and economies of scale that further increase competitiveness, encourage more investment, and result in greater accelerated growth.

Interviewed by the BBC during the AU summit in Addis Ababa in 2011, the World Bank Vice President for the Africa Region, Obiageli Ezekwesili, championed Africa, noting that the continent offers some of the highest returns on investments anywhere: “It would be a mistake for any corporation not to make Africa an investment destination.” [1]

Grow Africa

The agricultural growth corridor initiatives in have recently help inspire the establishment of Grow Africa, Both President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania and President Armando Emilio Gueguza of Mozambique, together with a range of other patrons representing leading bilateral and multilateral institutions, agreed to champion this wider platform. Grow Africa is a partnership between the African Union and NEPAD and the World Economic Forums New Vision for Agriculture which in line with national goals defined with the support of CAADP, sees an initial first wave of seven African countries[2] develop a similar transformative public-private approaches to accelerating sustainable agricultural growth, though not necessarily in the form of a corridor.

  • [1] World Bank press release, 2 February 2011.
  • [2] Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania.
 
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