The President of the African Development Bank, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina has made a strong case for increased American and global investments to help unlock Africa’s Agriculture potential.
He made the remarks as the Distinguished Guest Speaker, at the USDA’s 94th Agriculture Outlook Forum in Virginia on Thursday, on the theme The Roots of Prosperity.
Mr Adesina said, “For too long, Agriculture has been associated with what I call the three Ps – pain, penury, and poverty. The fact though is that agriculture is a huge wealth-creating sector that is primed to unleash new economic opportunities that will lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty.”
Participants at the Forum included the Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue; Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, Stephen Censky; President of the World Food Prize Foundation, Kenneth Quinn; Chief Economist of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Robert Johansson; Deputy Chief Economist, Warren Preston; and several top level government officials and private sector operators.
Adesina appealed to the US private sector to fundamentally change the way it views African agriculture.
“Think about it, the size of the food and agriculture market in Africa will rise to US $ 1 trillion by 2030. This is the time for US agri-businesses to invest in Africa,” he said. “And for good reason: Think of a continent where McKinsey projects household consumption is expected to reach nearly $2.1 trillion and business-to-business expenditure will reach $3.5 trillion by 2025. Think of a continent brimming with 840 million youth, the youngest population in the world, by 2050” he said.
The U.S government was urged to be at the forefront of efforts to encourage fertilizer and seed companies, manufacturers of tractors and equipment, irrigation and ICT farm analytics to ramp up their investments on the continent.