According to the US Geological Survey 2016, Sub- Saharan Africa produces 77% of the world’s platinum metals; 60% of its cobalt (used for batteries and metal alloys); 46% of its natural industrial diamonds; and an abundance of gold, uranium, oil and gas. Tragically, this immense mineral richness has not benefited the majority.
My vision for Africa’s future is not built on a foundation of extractive industries. These riches have not translated into wide-ranging job creation, or social welfare and stability. They have not fed hungry people. They have not reduced poverty.
I see Africa’s economic growth predicated upon unlocking and fully tapping into the potential of smallholder farmers who make up 70% of our population. When I insisted for many years that small-scale farms were as much businesses as large-scale operations, my views were considered at best romantic and at worst foolish. I am glad to note that the concept of smallholder farms as a business has become commonplace today.
Achieving the kind of economic growth that leaves no one behind requires deliberate prioritisation of the agricultural sector. In fact, agriculture is the surest path to Africa’s prosperity. Read more