Agriculture, Solution to Africa’s Malaise -Expert
Economic growth indices indicate that Africa has remained resilient amidst global headwinds, but reverting to Agriculture is the solution to Africa’s economic crisis.
Dr. Adeleke Salami, who was the Guest Speaker at a recent Town and Gown seminar of the Department of Economics and Development Studies, Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State, made the declaration while delivering a lecture on the topic, ‘Inclusive and Green Growth: Pathway to Agricultural Development’.
Africa’s subdued growth in 2016, he posited, will not last beyond 2017.
Dr. Adeleke, who is also the Senior Research Economist of the African Development Bank Group, Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire, explained that, “Despite the steady improvement in Africa’s economic journey, growth inequality still persists in Africa. In 2014, 6 of the world’s 10 most unequal countries were in Africa”.
He stated that Africa made more success in economic growth than in poverty reduction, therefore, poverty declined in 24 out of 30 African countries for which data are available. “However,” he said, “about 25 percent of its population suffers from malnutrition and growth has not translated sufficiently into employment growth.”
Adeleke averred that the slow pace in poverty reduction is also linked to structural issues like urban-rural disparities, gender inequality, slow growth in agriculture among others. He stated that 85 percent of poverty in Africa emanates from subsistence agriculture and the informal sector.
The Guest Speaker decried the level of environmental degradation in Africa, which he said accounted for over 50% of global forest loss between 2000 and 2005. “There has been an increase in extraction and depletion of natural resources assets. Effects of climate change on agriculture could cost African regions up to 7% of GDP by 2100. 67% of Africa’s land area has become or is becoming highly degraded. Major African staple crops are expected to have 8%-22% lower yields by 2050. African farmers are susceptible to increased fluctuations in rainfall and temperature due to climate change. Africa’s economic growth is not Environmentally Sustainable,” he lamented.
He proffered inclusive growth solution, which he described as growth accompanied by gains manifested through more employment and income, benefitting those sections of the society which have been bypassed by the recent higher rates of economic growth. Particularly for the most disadvantaged and marginalized rural poor living below the poverty line.
“This,” he said, “can be achieved though green growth and agriculture, which brings a need to promote green agricultural practices and technologies, while maintaining and increasing farm productivity and profitability as well as ensuring the provision of food on a sustainable basis.”
“What Africa needs to focus on now is integrated pest and nutrient management, low-tillage farming, agro-forestry, organic farming etc.,” he asserted.
While making his remarks at the event, the Head, Department of Economics and Development Studies, Dr. Evans Osabuohien, appreciated the Guest Speaker and urged the students to deepen their grasp of the subject and maximise the magnanimity of the University Management in providing such a unique platform. He also thanked the faculty, staff and students of the Department for their role in making the event a success.
Present at the event were students faculty and staff of the Department of Economics and Development Studies, including some members of the College of Business and Social Sciences.