The reason is that there is simply not enough of it. However, nowhere is it so much a “life and death” issue as in Africa. Although Sub-Saharan Africa has the potential to become an agricultural powerhouse, crop yields for much of the region are a fraction of those in the rest of the world. Economists say the continent needs to drastically increase its agricultural productivity and recommend a range of options – from high-yield seeds to fertilizer to improved infrastructure, to improved logistics and marketing – to spur an agricultural revolution in Africa. Africa’s challenge is in effect to go from subsistence to commercial agribusiness. The region’s development will depend on such a revolution, experts say, but it will require strong support from individual African governments and serious input from outside of Africa. The conference, which is obviously relevant to all of Africa, is being held in Lusaka for the following reasons:
- Zambia is a relatively stable country from political point of view with a strongly growing economy and a rapidly growing middle class.
- The Zambian economy is actually a very balanced one with several sectors each making a significant contribution to the generation of jobs and national income. Thus, mining contributes 33.5% to the GDP; agriculture20.2% to the GDP; and services 46.3% [estimate: 2012]. The Zambian government macroeconomic policies also encourage foreign investment in these various sectors and particularly in agriculture. Incidentally, agriculture employs 71% of all Zambians.
- Zambia is of course landlocked, which in most instances is a disadvantage from an economic point of view. This conference acknowledges the fact that the country is landlocked but treats this as an advantage in that the conference promotes trade and investment between Zambiaand its several neighbours - Malawi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Botswana, Tanzania and Angola.
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