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Agriculture: Toward more financial support in Sub-Saharan Africa

Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

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Tuesday, 02 October 2018

Agriculture: Toward more financial support in Sub-Saharan Africa

The European Commission and African Union set up a joint rural Africa taskforce in May, after agricultural co-operation was one of the key topics as the EU-Africa summit in Abidjan in November 2017. The task force and its 11 experts were tasked with making recommendations in January 2019, with a mandate that focuses on promoting food security, transferring skills, climate change adaption and investment in agri-business. The International Food Policy Research Institute estimates that Africa will add 38 million to its number of hungry people by 2050 as a result of climate change. The Institute has also forecast that the continent will experience major food shortages by 2020 and beyond, while malnutrition will be on the rise over the next 20 years. Carlos Lopes, the AU’s High Representative on the post-Cotonou talks, told EURACTIV that the planned African Continent Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA) would drive the integration in African value chains that will solidify the industry, and allow African agriculture to serve a mass market. But all of that will require a rapid ramping up of investment, both public and private, in African agri-business. The lack of domestic processing means that African countries often find themselves exporting raw materials, whether commodities or produce, and then importing the finished product. “If you look at what is available, a lot is still imported…even coffee, which is the country’s main export, it’s all pure green bean exports, we need to get more investment into processing,” Erik Habers, the head of development co-operation at the EU’s delegation to Ethiopia, told EURACTIV. “We are looking more at the linkages between smallholders, co-operatives, the private sector, processing, this whole value chain discussion,” he added.