Business for Development 2008: Promoting Commercial Agriculture in Africa



ISBN Number:

Publication Date:
May 2008

Business for Development 2008 offers a fresh look at African agriculture and seeks ways for it to become a profitable industry.

The changing pattern of international trade in agriculture has profound implications for Africa. The book’s authors discuss these trade flows, map the corporate landscape of agro-food (including the emergent indigenous sector) and assess trends in international development co-operation in agriculture. Particular focus is given to “aid for trade” programmes that aim to foster private-sector development and trade-capacity building.

A final chapter, drawing lessons from five country case studies, provides evidence of the (in)effectiveness of government intervention and donor programmes in promoting market access for African agriculture. It also offers evidence-based advice on how to foster agricultural development. The book emphasises how the domestic and international private sectors can become drivers of change. This book is a “must read” for government officials, private actors and the donor community and it may help lead to more balanced support programmes.

Table of Contents Aknowledgements Preface - Introduction & Overview


> Find out more about Refocusing on African Agriculture





Did You Know?
The share of African products in world agricultural imports declined from 5.4 per cent in 1985 to 3.2 per cent in 2006 
 - from Chapter 1 -

Chapter 1.  World Agricultural Trade and Africa


Export subsidies, domestic supports and tariffs continue to influence the changing landscape of world agricultural trade. Its evolution during the past two decades (1985-2005) suggests that much global agro-food trade has become less dependent on purely natural resource endowment and moved up along the value chains. In Africa, on the other hand, the agro-food sector has remained largely dependent on land and climatic conditions, though the continent’s agricultural exports have diversified away from bulk commodities to horticulture.

Chapter 2. Mapping Big Business: Agro-Food Enterprises in Africa


The global agro-food supply chain is controlled by a small number of large enterprises. Fewer than half have activities on site in Africa. Within the continent, a greater number of local enterprises shape the agro-food sector. This Chapter presents a snapshot of the corporate landscape in the agro-food system in Africa based on the analysis of its largest private sector actors, both foreign and domestic.


Did You Know?

Nigeria’s Dangote Sugar Refinery imports raw sugar from Brazil for domestic and industrial consumption.

 - from Chapter 2 -

Did you know?
The agricultural sector in Africa attracted about $2 billion in aid per annum during the period 2002-05.
- from Chapter 3 -


Chapter 3.  Aid for Trade and African Agriculture

This Chapter discusses aid-for-trade activities in Africa. Which are the institutions involved? What are the volumes committed and instruments used to provide trade-related assistance in the continent? A close look at the recent experience of donor support for productive capacity in African agriculture provides insights. Despite the fall of donor support during the 1980s and 1990s, aid to agriculture has remained among the top priority areas of assistance to building productive capacity in Africa.


Chapter 4. Unleashing the Potential of Agriculture: Lessons Emerging from Five Countries

This Chapter summarises the major lessons learned from five country case studies: Ghana, Mali, Senegal, Tanzania and Zambia. In the five countries, the transformation of agriculture and the development of agro-based industries have yet to materialise. Donors have played an important role in the promotion of the horticultural sector in these countries. Contract farming (e.g. outgrower schemes) has proved to be an effective mechanism for involving smallholder farmers in export crop production and achieving economies of scale.


Did you know?

  The five countries studied accounted for over 20 per cent of total commitments to aid to agriculture in Africa during 2002-2005.

- from Chapter 4 -



Did you know?
During 1990-2006, cereals yields grew on average by less than 1 per cent per year in the five countries.


Mali (FR)

Senegal (FR)





> Higher Food Prices - A Blessing in Disguise for Africa? 

> The Cotton Sector in Mali: Realising its Growth Potential
> Africa’s Private Sector: Ready to Seize Business Opportunities?
> Fostering Africa’s Private Sector Development (Japanese version)



Readers can access the full version of Business for Development 2008 choosing from the following options:


For further information, journalists are invited to contact Colm Foy (tel. + 33 1 45 24 84 80) and Kathryn Bailey (tel. + 33 1 45 24 84 81) in the OECD Development Centre's Media Division or Patrizia Labella (tel. + 33 1 45 24 16 10) in the Business for Development unit.