Agriculture in Africa is bursting with potential; potential to provide economic security for a large part of its population. But a lack of training, infrastructure, and access to large markets stop the industry from benefiting the continent as much as it could.
Africa’s rich natural resources are under-utilised. According to the Brookings Institute, Sub-Saharan Africa “is home to nearly half of the world’s uncultivated land that can be brought into production.” Given Africa’s unemployment rate and population growth, a substantial development of agribusiness is desperate needed, and Africans should own this growth. The Brookings Institute points out that “food production in sub-Saharan Africa needs to increase by 60 percent over the next 15 years to feed a growing population.”
Not only is the agricultural industry in need of development, Africans need to be equipped with driving this development. Unemployment is a major issue for particularly African youth; according to the African Center for Economic Transformation, almost half of the 10 million people who graduate from the over 668 universities in Africa yearly do not get a job. And this issues is likely to increase, since Africa has the largest “youth bulge” in the world; according to the World Bank, “the number of youth is expected to grow by 42.5 million between 2010 and 2020.”
On top of this, the jobs that Africans do hold in the agribusiness are mostly subsistence and low wage jobs; while between 60 and 70% of jobs in Sub-Saharan Africa are in the agricultural business, it only accounts for 33% of the continent’s GDP. Agribusiness holds potential to fight unemployment, increase business ownership, boost African economies, and, as a result, dramatically reduce poverty. According to ONE, “growth in agriculture is 11 times more effective at reducing poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa than growth in other sectors.”
Encouraging viable businesses for farmers
At Cultivate, we’re driven by the assumption that encouraging African entrepreneurship in agriculture holds potential to address these issues, and our mission is to help make viable agribusiness accessible to small scale farmers and entrepreneurs.