Food, Jobs and Sustainability

What African Agriculture Needs to Achieve


By Sabine Sütterlin, Alexandra Reinig and Reiner Klingholz

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 peoples can the continent escape the dual trap of poverty and high numbers of children.
African agriculture, which is characterised mainly by smallholders, has a key role to play here. Although African farmers are currently unable to feed their own populations, they have the chance to benefit from European experiences and innovation and to avoid mistakes and undesirable developments.
To leapfrog, meaning to skip certain stages of technological development, in this case means: 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 places 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.


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The Berlin Institute would like to thank the Bayer Foundation and the Friends of the Berlin Institute for supporting this research project.