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September 10th, 2018 / MoneyWeb, South Africa

Africa spent about $35 billion on food imports in 2016, and projections show that if left unchecked, the continent’s food import bill could to surge to $110 billion by 2025.

It’s a perplexing situation, given the continent’s stature as home to 50% of the world’s cultivatable land. How can the continent address its food security woes with such a hefty import bill? The Rockefeller Foundation’s Africa regional office MD Mamadou Biteye argues that now is the time to address tough issues. “This year we need to review leadership, how we are measuring growth, and overall, if we are growing at all,” Biteye said at the 2018 African Green Revolution Forum.

In 2017, the Rockefeller Foundation and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) committed to jointly providing up to US$280 million towards agricultural transformation in at least 11 countries in Africa, which would in turn increase incomes and improve the food security of 30 million smallholder households.

In the past two decades, the agricultural sector has seen countless investment commitments with hardly any implementation mechanism to follow suit. Since the establishment of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) in 2003, there has been lax implementation of the pillars of the CAADP. A key pillar was member states committing to increase public investments in agriculture to at least 10% of their annual national budgets by 2008, but many member states fell short.

The Rockefeller Foundation has taken on a different investment approach in 2018, focusing primarily on production in the agriculture sector away from distribution and consumption. Read more