Opinion Piece Examines Food Security In Africa

The Star: Why is Africa still hungry?
Alex O. Awiti, director of the East Africa Institute at Aga Khan University

“…Why is Africa still hungry when the continent recorded the highest GDP growth and is on the upswing? Why does agriculture, which employs more than 70 percent of Africa’s workforce, contribute the least to the continent’s GDP? … Why is Africa still hungry when it is jam-packed with NGOs, civil society, research and academic institutions focused on agriculture? Why is Africa hungry when the World Bank, AfDB, and foundations such [as] the Bill and Melinda Gates and Rockefeller Foundations and MasterCard have made available hundreds of millions of dollars to fund agriculture. Why is Africa still hungry when thousands of African researchers have received higher training in agronomy, economics, soil science, crop and animal breeding, agroforestry, finance, and insurance? Why is Africa hungry when each country has an agriculture department and a plethora of policies and strategies? Is the reason Africa is hungry really about inadequate human capacity and institutions? For nearly a century, different experts have sworn that the problem is markets or inputs or genetics or roads or policies or finance or post-harvest losses or property rights for women or subsidies or value addition. Experts have debated loud and long. While each expert has been partially right, all were wrong about Africa’s agriculture…” (2/13).