NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 5 – Agriculture contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Africa has continued to deteriorate in the last five years.
According to Rockefeller Foundation Africa Managing Director Mamadou Biteye, the agricultural sector in Africa has been diminishing as countries remain adamant in investing in the sector.
He says African countries are yet to invest 10 percent of national budgets to agricultural development as agreed in the 2003 The Maputo Declaration on Agriculture and Food Security.
“Only eight countries in Africa are investing 10 percent of national budget to agriculture development. Other countries are only doing three percent; there needs better leadership that will see the importance of agriculture to Africa’s economy. These are some of the discussions expected in the AGRF this week,” Biteye told Capital FM Business, as the sixth African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) kicked off in Nairobi.
Statistics from the World Bank indicate that agriculture contribution to GDP has gone down from 22.9 percent in sub-Saharan Africa to 17.1 percent.
It is estimated that agriculture is Africa’s largest economic sector, representing 15 percent of the continent’s total GDP, or more than $100 billion (Sh10 trillion) annually.
It is highly concentrated, with Egypt and Nigeria alone accounting for one-third of total agricultural output and the top 10 countries generating 75 percent.
“There are many opportunities for Africa to transform its agricultural agenda. The continent’s imports agricultural products worth $35 billion (Sh3.5 trillion), which can be produced in the continent and it’s set to hit $110 billion if nothing is done,” said Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) President Agnes Kalibata.
Innovation and increased investments in agriculture are the major issues to be discussed at AGRF that runs from September 5 to September 9, 2016 in Nairobi.
Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Willy Bett says the forum whose theme is “Seize the Moment: Africa Rising through Agricultural Transformation” will advance policies and secure the investments that will ensure a better life for millions of Africa’s farmers and families.
He says over 1,500 delegates from across Africa will attend the event including Rwanda President Paul Kagame and Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama.
“The delegates will share their insights on how to create, align and leverage financial, technical, policy and market-expanding resources to develop game-changing and inclusive agribusiness models for Africa,” he stated.
This year’s event will consist of plenary sessions, break-out sessions, B2B meetings, the Africa Food Prize and informal networking opportunities.
The event has attracted over 100 high profile speakers including leading philanthropists such as Bill Gates, African telecoms entrepreneur Strive Masiyiwa, Philanthropist David Rockefeller and USAID’s Gayle Smith.