Africa can and must strive to feed it­self and the rest of the world even­tu­ally

The East African - - OPINION -

THE BIG­GEST prob­lem we seem to have in Africa is that both the lead­ers and the led are nei­ther keen nor ready to lis­ten to those who have vi­able so­lu­tions for our own de­vel­op­ment.

African De­vel­op­ment Bank’s vice-pres­i­dent for agri­cul­ture, hu­man and so­cial de­vel­op­ment, Jen­nifer Blanke, re­cently re­vealed that Africa spends $35 bil­lion on food im­ports, yet we have the largest un­used agri­cul­tural land in the world and a large pool of labour.

In­deed, Africa’s food prob­lem is low pro­duc­tiv­ity and lost op­por­tu­ni­ties through the ex­por­ta­tion of pri­mary prod­ucts and buy­ing back pro­cessed prod­ucts at a higher cost.

We know that about 12 mil­lion young Africans come into the work force for the only three mil­lion jobs avail­able. Our lead­ers do not seem to know that this sit­u­a­tion can be and is al­ready chang­ing.

Our lead­ers should re­alise that the AFDB and other like-minded in­sti­tu­tions should work with gov­ern­ments to train young grad­u­ates on how to be­come the next gen­er­a­tion of agripreneurs.

Our youth should ac­tu­ally come up with busi­nesses and in­no­va­tions that not only thrive but also cre­ate em­ploy­ment. We have been re­minded that agri­cul­ture is the key to Africa’s pros­per­ity be­cause of the huge op­por­tu­nity it presents. We should be aware that agri­cul­ture is the key be­cause it em­ploys 60 to 80 per cent of the peo­ple de­pend­ing on the coun­try you are look­ing at and by 2030, it will be a $1 tril­lion-busi­ness an­nu­ally. Ki­mani Nju­guna Via e-mail

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