Africa, and especially Sub-Saharan Africa, has known a steady economic growth for the last decade. Nevertheless, such growth hasn’t been equally distributed and Sub-Saharan Africa remains affected by multiple issues, most of them are intertwined with a main one: food security and agricultural production. Addressing food security should be a priority for African leaders, regional organisation, NGOs and the International Community.
Food insecurity is made worse by climate change because changes in rainfall, soil quality, and weather patterns as well as the negative effects that climate change produces, e.g. droughts and floods, all have an impact on agricultural productivity; what’s more, the impossibility of making a living out of agriculture is pushing many people from rural areas to move to urban areas, without the assurance that they’re going to actually find better living conditions and with the result of exacerbating the sometimes often precarious conditions of the urban population. HIV/AIDS also prevent the rural population from being consistently and effectively devoted in agriculture, as if one or more members of the family fall ill, not only do they stop farming and producing income but they also require care from other family members. Wars and conflicts also have a destructive effect on agriculture, as their very existence disrupts the links between the rural areas (where food is produced) and the urban areas (where most food is consumed). In addition to these, many African countries are still paying the consequences for policies inspired to market-based liberal principles which were imposed on the 80s by the World Bank and the IMF.
The good news is that Africa is moving on and is taking ownership of its own future. The food crisis of 2007-2008 has forced African leaders, the African Union and all stakeholders involved in Africa to forge policies to support agricultural production and contrast climate change. Some governments implemented policies to boost food production, transformation and security. Examples of good practices come from Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya, which created strong partnerships with stakeholders of the private sector.
If other African countries aligned to such examples, the continent could really seize the major opportunities that stem from tackling its major issues:
Invest in education: give the youth the skills they need means to empower them to take into their hands the future of their countries and unlock Africa’s economic potential.
Invest in women and young girls: to promote the awareness of the impact of un unplanned population growth on their families and their future. This can be done starting from the single communities, to inform and educate women and common people about what can be done to secure nutrition in the future, including forms of family planning.
Promote social protection policy to increase food security and access to healthcare and education.
Plan economic development strategies that are inclusive and people-centred, with a focus on job creation, employment, prevention of conflicts, especially the ones originating for the control of resources and agriculture.
There are some success stories showing that boosting agriculture is possible in Sub-Saharan Africa. These examples all show that the path to follow include public investment, adequate policies, development of new technology and infrastructure and empowering of human resources.
One of these examples is Rwanda. The country adopted a brave approach to reformation, and it started with the land, establishing property rights and digitalising the land registry. Then it continued with businesses, introducing electronic online business registration. This encouraged new businesses to register and reduced the time needed to set up a business from 43 to 4 days. Rwanda has also simplified its tax system to increase tax compliance and made financial transactions more secure, with the result of an increased confidence among lenders.
SOARising’s mission is to fund projects that could really make a difference for Africa’s development, while putting the future of the continent back into the hands of the people. SOARising provides a simple and affordable way to invest in the development of Africa whilst making a return. SOARising is investing in Africa through community projects and smart city developments and is trying to ensure a brighter future for young people promoting education-related initiatives.
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Synopsis: food security and agricultural production should be top priorities in African development policies, yet they are so interconnected with other major issues that only a comprehensive approach, focusing on investment, education, social inclusion and introduction of new technologies in many sectors, including agriculture, can address food security. Some African countries, like Rwanda, took the lead in introducing reforms that are changing the future of its citizens.