The Annual Meetings of the Board of Governors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) opened in Ahmedabad, India, yesterday with calls for greater cooperation between the bank and India to spur Africa’s transformation.
Held under the theme, “Transforming Agriculture for Wealth creation in Africa,” the annual meeting will underscore the importance of agriculture for Africa’s transformation and encourage the youth to engage in agriculture as a business for real transformation to take place.
“To develop with pride, Africa must feed itself,” Akinwumi Adesina, AfDB president, said.
He pointed out that, at the current rate, the continent’s food imports bill would nearly triple to reach $110 billion per year by 2025 and disrupt the continent’s macroeconomic and fiscal stability.
“Investing in agriculture will enable African economies to grow by 10-20 per cent,” Adesina said. “It would reduce the one million migrants who travelled from Africa to Europe in 2016 alone, and avoid the loss of over 5,000 young lives, whose future now lies buried at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea.”
Call for partnerships
The Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, Amb. Claver Gatete, who is attending the meeting, called for partnerships and innovation in agriculture for the sector to meet expectations.
“Agriculture sector employs a big number of the African people. Public and private investments can unlock potential in the agriculture sector and speed up poverty reduction. In Rwanda, agriculture contributes to more than 30 per cent of GDP,” Gatete said.
Agriculture is the economic mainstay of the majority of Rwandan households and is a significant contributor to the country’s economy.
In 2015, the agriculture sector accounted for about 33 per cent of the GDP, employed nearly 70 per cent of the Rwandan labour force, generated 60 per cent of the foreign exchange, provided 75 per cent of raw materials for industry, and provided about 45 per cent of total Government revenue.
Adesina believes agriculture, which is critical to the economic stability of African countries because high food prices and cost of imports affect the stability of local currencies, is now receiving better attention from ministries for finance and governors of central banks.
The AfDB has provided a roadmap to the growth of agriculture in African countries with a plan to inject about $2.4 billion every year for 10 years to build roads, irrigation infrastructure and storage facilities within Africa to attract high-value investors.