By Henry UMORU
GOVERNOR, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi disclosed Monday that the total projected demand for agribusiness financing required in Africa from now till 2050 stands at $620.4 billion, just as the annual demand is put at $6.5 billion.
According to him, funding globally from various sources had been declining over the years, just as he said that Official Development Assistant [ODA] to sub Sahara Africaâ€™s agriculture dropped from $ 1.450 billion in 1998 to $ 713 million in 2002. Sanusi who noted that Africaâ€™s food import bills stand between US$ 2 billion and 20 billion per annum in addition to the continentâ€™s$ 2 billion annual food aid, stressed that these huge financial resources being expended could be used internally to develop Africaâ€™s Agricultural potential.
Speaking at the ongoing High-level three-day Conference on the development of Agri-Business and Agro-Industries in Africa holding at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, Sanusi who spoke during the Financial Mechanism in Support of African Agricbusiness and Agro industry initiative session,Â warned that if the continent fails to address the problem associated with Agriculture, there could be impending food crisis in the continent.
The Apex Bank boss who noted that the proportion of people living below the poverty line of less thenÂ US$1 a day increased from 47. 6 per cent in 1985 to 59 per cent in 2,000 and still growing, stressed that a large proportion of people in Africa had limited access to food, clothing and shelter, adding thatÂ more than 200 million people, particularly women and children were undernourished.
According to Sanusi, ten million people die annually of hunger related diseases whileÂ 850 million people were food insecure in 70 lower income countries, adding that at the end of 2008, only 11 African countries had achieved the six per cent annual agriculture growth rate target, just as he said that the growth was connected with limitations in government structures, weak infrastructures , lack of political will as well as access to finance, adding that the percentage of bankâ€™s credit to agric sector declined from 17. 5per cent in 2002 to 4 per cent in 2007.
Speaking earlier, the Director General of United Nation for Industrial Development Organization [UNIDO] Dr Kaunde Yumkela stressed that if Nigeria as a country must achieve food security, the government must tackle the energy poverty squarely, just as he said that there will be no competition if the energy cost was too high, adding, â€˜â€™Stop talking about Nigeria potentials, but Nigeriaâ€™s leadership in economic developmentâ€.