By Jimoh Babatunde
The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) institutions have agreed to strengthen their cooperation to speed up Africa’s agricultural transformation
Both institutions met in Abidjan last week to discusse some of the most pressing constraints to the development of African agriculture in the continent like access to inputs and fertilizers; finance and credit; storage, extension, and markets.
They promised to address challenges faced by Africa’s smallholder farmers through improved infrastructure and systems, value addition, market access, institutional capacity and training, public and private investments.
AfDB Vice-President in charge of Agriculture, Water, Human Development, Governance and Natural Resources, Aly Abou-Sabaa said agriculture is at the heart of AfDB’s strategy.
“We consider agriculture as a vehicle for inclusive and sustainable economic transformation, and eradicating poverty and hunger. I am not just speaking about growth, but quality growth, that is inclusive and which leaves no one behind,” he said.
Over the past 50 years of its operation, the Bank has invested close to US $100 billion in development projects in Africa, of which $12 billion is in agriculture.
Through its Strategy for 2013-2022, AfDB is supporting a number of broad interventions to assist in addressing Africa’s agricultural and food security challenges. It is heavily investing in rural infrastructure, and linking farmers to markets.
AfDB is also contributing to the long-term capitalization of the agriculture sector especially benefitting infrastructure development along the value chain for promoting sustainable agricultural production systems. It is also funding agricultural research and technology development.
Agnes Kalibata, the President of AGRA, also recognized the importance of infrastructure development to help millions of people improve their living conditions. “As Rwanda’s former Minister of Agriculture, I can testify to the pivotal role of feeder roads,” she said. “What is the value of surplus if you cannot sell your produce?” she asked.