Unyielding efforts: Africa still waiting for its green revolution

The boom in yields seen over the last 50 years in East Asia, fostered by policy reforms and technological advances, has largely eluded sub-Saharan countries.

Agriculture remains a fundamental sector for the African economy, providing an average 15 percent of gross domestic product across the continent.

Yet regional differences are stark; while it contributes only 2.4 percent of Equatorial Guinea’s GDP, it accounts for 70 percent in Liberia.

That share on average has been in steady decline, despite the sector providing jobs for 50 percent of the continent’s labor force. This indicates low productivity and limited added value for African agriculture, suggesting the continent has largely missed out on the green revolution experienced by the rest of the developing world, most notably East Asia.

The World Bank cites geological factors, the lack of tailored international advice, distorting policies, poor governance and, above all, insufficient investment in agriculture as key impediments to progress. This goes some way to explaining African leaders’ recent pledge to adopt frameworks mitigating risks faced by inbound investors.