Development Centre

Business for Development 2008 - Refocusing on African Agriculture


Agriculture provides employment to more than 60 per cent of the active labour force in Africa. Yet, aid to the sector has declined, as has Africa’s share in world agricultural exports. So, who is supporting Africa’s agricultural business?

Our second edition of Business for Development, due out in May 2008, provides some answers in an overview of the trends in aid, trade and the role of corporate players in the African agricultural sector. The report will also boast case studies on Mali, Senegal, Ghana, Tanzania and Zambia.

The international launch of the publication will be on 26 May in Tokyo. The report will also be presented on in Yokohama in occasion of TICAD IV.


Want to know more about Business for Development 2008?


The first volume of was launched in May 2007.



Aid to Agriculture

While two-thirds of African workers depend on agriculture for their livelihood, the total volume of aid to this sector has declined. Africa's share of total official aid to agriculture has fallen even more drastically. In 2003-05 Africa accounted for roughly a third of the world total of official aid commitments to agriculture.


The volume of aid to agriculture in Africa declined in real terms from $2.6 billion in 1991-93 to $2.0 billion in 2003-05.

Broad definition: Agriculture, Agro-industry and Rural Development


Trends in African Agriculture

The share of Africa in world agricultural imports has also declined. From 5.4% in 1985 it has decreased to 3.2% in 2006.


Did you know?

Africa's agricultural exports are highly concentrated in a small number of countries. South Africa emerges as the largest supplier of agricultural products from the continent.

Did you know?

Africa's agricultural export composition has experienced a major shift. It has diversified from bulk commodities to horticultural products and, to a smaller extent, processed products.

Did you know?

Bulk products continue to provide the largest share of agricultural export earnings for Africa.

Did you know?

South Africa, Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana account for 56% of total exports from Sub-Saharan Africa.


Policy Attention on Agriculture

Despite economic growth in many parts of Africa, the continent’s efforts to alleviate poverty have been disappointing (AEO 2007). There is growing recognition that the underperformance of agriculture has been a major drag on economic and social development in the continent. African governments and the donor community have largely neglected the agricultural sector during the 1980s and 1990s. It is only quite recently that they have begun to refocus policy attention on the vital contribution agriculture can make to African development.


The NEPAD Initiative

In July 2003 one of NEPAD's key inititiatives was endorsed by African Heads of State: The Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).

The CAADP was designed to focus on long-term investment in four priority areas:

  • land and water management
  • rural infrastructure and trade-related capacities for improved market access
  • increasing food supply and reducing hunger
  • agricultural research, technology dissemination and adoption

African governments are increasingly willing to revitalise agriculture. They are committed to promoting a private-sector led development approach of agriculture which should not only improve the availability of food but also become a major source of employment.

They are paying attention not only to farm-based activities but also to off-farm operations, which account for a growing share of rural household income.

African governments have committed to ensuring that 10 per cent of their national budgetary resources be disbursed to the agriculture sector.


>>Want to learn more? NEPAD - CAADP Initiative


Contact Us


For more information please contact Patrizia Labella or Kiichiro Fukasaku


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