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Economic Report on Africa 2009

Developing African Agriculture Through Regional Value Chains

image of Economic Report on Africa 2009

The Economic Report on Africa 2009 (ERA 2009) is organized into two parts. Part I examines global economic developments and their implication for Africa, analyses recent economic and social trends, and highlights emerging development challenges to the continent in 2008. Part II is devoted to the issue of regional value challenges to developing African agriculture. ERA 2009 then focuses on the question of how to enhance structural transformation of African agriculture through systematic efforts to develop regionally integrated value chains and markets for selected strategic food and agricultural commodities. Finally, the report urges African governments to operationalize commitments to develop agriculture, and suggests strategies that promote viable value chains at the national and regional levels.

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Challenges to agricultural development in Africa

Africa has abundant arable land and labour which, with sound policies, could be translated into increased production, incomes and food security. This has not materialized because of lack of consistent policies and/or effective implementation strategies. Thus, despite agriculture accounting for 70 per cent of the labour force, over 25 per cent of GDP and 20 per cent of agribusinesses in most countries, it continues to be given low priority. Agriculture also has a high multiplier effect, which means that agricultural investment can generate high economic and social returns and enhance economic diversification as well as social development.

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