The 52nd Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) opened in Ahmedabad, India, with calls for greater cooperation between the Bank and India to spur Africa’s transformation.
Held under the theme “Transforming Agriculture for Wealth creation in Africa,” the annual meeting will underscore the importance of agriculture for Africa’s transformation and hopes to encourage the youth to engage in agriculture as a business for real transformation to take place.
“To develop with pride, Africa must feed itself,” Akinwumi Adesina, the President of the African Development Bank Group said. He pointed out that the continent’s food imports bill would nearly triple to reach US $110 billion per year by 2025 and disrupt the continent’s macroeconomic and fiscal stability.
“Investing in agriculture will enable African economies to grow by 10-20%,” he said adding that,“It would reduce the one million migrants who travelled from Africa to Europe in 2016 alone, and avoid the loss of over 5,000 young lives, whose future now lies buried at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea.”
The Minister of finance and Economic Planning Claver Gatete called for partnerships and innovation in Agriculture for the sector to meet expectations.
“Agriculture sector employs a big number of the African people. Public and private investments can unlock potential in the agriculture sector and speed up poverty reduction. In Rwanda Agriculture contributes to more than 30% of our GDP,” Minister Gatete told participants.
Agriculture is the economic mainstay of the majority of households and is a significant contributor to the Rwanda’s economy. In 2015, the agriculture sector accounted for approximately 33% of the GDP, employed nearly 70% of the Rwandan labor force, generated 60% of the foreign exchange, provided 75% of raw materials for industry, and provided about 45% of total Government revenue.
The AfDB President believes agriculture, which is critical to the economic stability of African countries because high food prices and cost of imports affect the stability of local currencies, is now receiving better attention from Ministries of Finance and Governors of the Central Banks.
The African Development Bank (AfDB) has provided a roadmap to the growth of agriculture in African countries with a plan to inject about US $2.4 billion every year for 10 years to build roads, irrigation infrastructure and storage facilities within Africa to attract high-value investors.