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Africa must industrialise agric sector: AfDB

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AHMEDABAD — Africa must take agriculture as a business and industrialise the sector to accelerate the continent’s growth, African Development Bank (AfDB) president, Akinwumi Adesina has said.

BY NDAMU SANDU

In his remarks at the opening of the bank group’s annual meetings yesterday, Adesina said the industrialisation of agriculture was one of the routes in achieving sustainable development goals and agenda 2063 targets Feed Africa is one of the high 5s AfDB is working on to accelerate the growth of the continent. Other high 5s include light up Africa, industrialise Africa, integrate Africa and improve the quality of life.

“Agriculture must be taken as a business in Africa. Africa must industrialise that sector,” he said.

“The continent’s competitive advantage is favourable climatic conditions and rich soils yet output has been dismal. The continent imports $35 billion annually in food.”

Feed Africa is one of the high fives AfDB working on to accelerate the growth of the continent.

Other high 5s include light up Africa, industrialise Africa, integrate Africa and improve the lives of Africans.

“The industrialisation of the agriculture sector would usher in value addition, which rescues farmers from selling primary commodities to get little, whereas those that value add were raking in million in profits,” Adesina said.

“African farmers sweat while others eat sweets. We must end Africa being at the bottom of the global value chain.”

A number of countries such as Zimbabwe export primary commodities, thereby, fetching little at the international market.

The call to take agriculture as a business is seen as a slap in the face on Zimbabwe’s land revolution, which has failed to deliver leading to the importation of grain to plug the deficit.

Zimbabwe is this year expected to reap a bumper harvest due to a better rainfall.

Adesina said the future of the continent could not be postponed, advocating the need to encompass the youths, “spark their dreams and enable their entrepreneurial project”.

“I do not believe that the future of African youth lies at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea,” he said.

Thousands of Africans, including youth, have drowned in the Mediterranean Sea on their way to Europe to seek better opportunities.

Adesina said women needed to be empowered to help drive the economic growth.

“I formally believe in the importance of women in senior leadership. Eighty percent of the bank’s deputy director generals are women. A bird cannot fly with one wing,” he said.

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