To improve the living conditions in Africa in the long term, rapid leaps in development are necessary. Our study shows how these leaps can be achieved.
Sub-Saharan Africa has the lowest per capita income and the highest population growth of any region in the world. Only by promoting economic development and creating new perspectives for its population can the continent escape the dual trap of poverty and high fertility.
African agriculture, which is characterised mainly by smallholders, has a key role to play here. Although African farmers are currently unable to feed the population of the continent, they have the chance to benefit from European experiences and innovation and to avoid mistakes and undesirable developments.
To leapfrog, i.e. to skip certain stages of technological development, means in this context achieving higher yields by using resources intelligently and efficiently. If the countries of Africa succeed in linking farmers to markets, processing more raw materials in the regions where they are grown and reinvesting the gains in added value, it will be possible for them to initiate the structural changes necessary in rural areas to turn agriculture into a driver of development.
The Berlin Institute would like to thank the Bayer Foundation and the Group of Friends of the Berlin Institute for supporting this research project.