Africa urged to invest more in agriculture

Lagos – African countries should invest more in agriculture and manufacturing to eliminate persistent poverty on the continent, a World Bank expert has advised.
Workers prepare to transport cassava from the farm. Africa has been called upon to increase funding to the agriculture industry. The New Times / File photo
Workers prepare to transport cassava from the farm. Africa has been called upon to increase funding to the agriculture industry. The New Times / File photo

Lagos – African countries should invest more in agriculture and manufacturing to eliminate persistent poverty on the continent, a World Bank expert has advised.

Frank Byamugisha, a lead land specialist at the World Bank, said Africa has ignored agriculture in favour of natural resources, keeping the continent in extreme poverty. “Agriculture and manufacturing are labour-intensive and normally create jobs but have not been key in the continent’s growth except in a few countries.”

Byamugisha said the failure by the continent to prioritise agriculture has seen Africa register high growth rates in the last decade, which have failed to address poverty.

He noted that unlike the revenue from agriculture that spreads to the poor, revenue from minerals or oil is usually spent on sectors that do not necessarily benefit the common man.

According to the bank, agriculture provides a livelihood to 70 per cent of the population in Africa, and that growth in the sector translates to a greater reduction in poverty than growth in other economic sectors. Byamugisha was presenting a kenote address during the International Federation of Surveyors working week in Lagos, Nigeria.

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