African governments and donors have been urged to treat the agriculture sector as a commercially-viable sector with the potential to create jobs and foreign exchange, Tony Elumelu Foundation, an African-based philanthropic organisation, has said.
Early this year, the Tony Elemu Foundation trained about 30 Zambian youths in entrepreneurial mentorship, among other programmes.
Mr Elumelu said agriculture is arguably the most strategic sector on the continent because it delivers two to three times the return on investment, in terms of improved economic well-being, as other sectors.
It represents 32 percent of Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP) and also employs 65 percent of the working population.
“Most importantly, it is the sector where the poorest on the continent are most likely to be engaged in their struggle to survive. Unlike in Western societies, Africa’s farmers are among its poorest citizens.
“What this tells us is that to succeed, any programme or initiative aimed at eradicating or alleviating poverty or stimulating job creation, among others, must tackle the agriculture sector,” he said in a statement availed to the media recently.
Mr Elumelu said this when he addressed agri-business investors and stakeholders at the Global Food Security Symposium in Washington, DC.
Africa can become the engine of global economic growth for years to come if such challenges are addressed.
Mr Elumelu said there is need to transform the agriculture sector through addressing the critical nexus between strategic sectors of agriculture, transportation and power.
He called on public and private sector collaboration to adopt Africapitalist, an approach meant to achieve the transformation and growth needed to meet the increasing demand for safe and sustainable food