Efforts by the African Development Bank (AfDB) to upgrade Africa’s agriculture sector is yielding good results with about 5.6 million people benefiting from the bank’s interventions in the past one year.
The AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina last week confirmed the bank’s new plans to scale up its focus on regional integration and agriculture as an important part of its development work plan to accelerate regional economic growth.
“Agriculture is already central to the lives of Africans, providing 60 per cent of jobs across the continent. Decades of underinvestment and recurrent drought have restricted productivity, reduced incomes, and hindered nutrition and food security. Investing in agriculture is one of the most direct ways of generating domestic revenue, inclusive and sustainable growth,” he noted adding that the new strategy outlines recent economic and social trends across the continent, particularly those relating to the bank’s “High 5” priority areas: Light up and power Africa, Feed Africa, Industrialise Africa, Integrate Africa, and improve the quality of life for the people of Africa.
It also reviews how well the bank has achieved value for money in making a difference in people’s lives.
“It analyses the opportunities and challenges facing Africa in the coming years, assesses how well the bank has performed against its objectives, and discusses how the bank will support Africa in achieving the inclusive and sustainable development that is highlighted in its Ten Year Strategy.”
On regional integration, the bank will continue to prioritise regional infrastructure investment and the development of soft infrastructure, including institutional capacity, trade facilitation and financial infrastructure.
It will give high priority to mobilising resources from the public and private sectors, to meet the infrastructure deficit. For agriculture, the bank’s infrastructure investments will foster larger and more efficient markets and create the economies of scale needed for competitiveness and trade.
This, according to experts, is expected to lead to significant investment, increase agriculture’s export potential, and put downward pressure on domestic prices of food, helping to reduce food insecurity.
Adesina highlighted how the bank is improving the livelihoods of millions of Africans in agriculture, helping women to get better access to land, finance and technology, and young people to get secure and sustainable jobs in agriculture-related industries.
“To boost sustainability and development impact, we have hardwired our new Results Measurement Framework and Business Delivery Model into project design that will continue to address the challenges to help achieve the structural transformation outlined in the bank’s ten year strategy said, Simon Mizrahi, AfDB’s Director for Delivery, Performance Management and Results.
The High 5 priorities are an integral part of that effort and will remain at the centre of the bank’s ambitious plans to support Africa’s transformation, he added.