Over the last decade Africa’s annual total GDP has doubled from 2.1 percent to 4.8 percent. Improved governance and human development have accompanied this and as a result, seven out of the top ten fastest growing economies in the world are found in Africa. The IMF projects an economic growth of 6.1 percent for the continent in 2014.
However, its agricultural growth has remained relatively stagnant with an increase of only 0.2 percent. It therefore remains the world’s most food insecure continent, with low rural incomes and high rates of malnutrition as pointed out by the FAO. Thus, from the 24th to 28th of March this year, the Organisation held its 28th Regional Conference for Africa in Tunis, calling upon African ministers of agriculture to increase investment in priority areas and in the support of small-scale farmers, especially rural youth and women.
FAO’s Regional Representative for Africa commended a series of agricultural successes across the continent. But Mr. Bukar Tijani queried upon the commitment of African leaders to build on this progress by encouraging investment through stable agriculture and fiscal policies. He said that governance and accountability of these policies is critical for sustained agricultural growth and development.
Plans to end hunger in Africa by 2025 was part of the motivation of the conference and emphasis was made on the sustainable increase in agriculture, fisheries, livestock and forestry as a stable source of employment and income. Through this, African youth, women and men will also benefit from agri-business ventures aimed at increasing family incomes.