Africa Emerging Markets Forum: Structural Transformation and African Agriculture

Hans Binswanger-Mkhize, Alex McCalla and Praful Patel

The purpose of the Africa Emerging Markets Forum is to discuss the continent’s economic and social challenges and to share ideas for better results on the ground. This paper focuses on the performance and potential contribution of agriculture development, first looking at the current constraints and then setting out some suggestions for the way forward.

Over the past 50 years, the normal structural decline in the share of agriculture in the economy and accompanying convergence of incomes in the agricultural and non-agricultural sectors, has not yet happened in sub-Saharan Africa. The economy in terms of sector shares in total output has been practically frozen, as has the structure of production within agriculture itself, its technology, and its mode of growth primarily via area expansion. As a consequence, African agriculture remains extremely undercapitalized, and the number of poor and hungry has increased in both the rural and urban areas.

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