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Can Africa Feed The World?

While narratives over the past few decades have painted a wide range of views of Africa—as a child in need of development, a rising economic power, an imminent threat, a tinderbox of terrorism, poverty, forced migration, and disease—the truth is, as always, more nuanced. One thing is certain: the transformation that Africa has undergone in recent decades has been remarkable. Africa is shaping its destiny and should be referred to as the “African opportunity” instead of the “African threat.”

Despite all the challenges that people still face in Africa today, the Sub-Saharan countries, in particular, have immense economic potential. Africa is thus regarded as the continent of the future—for many reasons.

With 60 percent of the world's uncultivated arable land laying in Africa, it is estimated that if all the arable land in Africa were to be nurtured, with the right information and knowledge to farmers from credible research institutions and other technical expertise, Africa would be capable of feeding over 60 percent of the world population by 2050.

Here I’m talking about technologies that are specific for Africa/African farmers.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo alone could feed two billion people, according to some estimates. I know Africa can look deceptively diminutive on conventional maps of the world due to its location on the globe, which tends to exaggerate continents closer to the poles at the expense of under-sizing those near the equator. So it can be surprising to some of you to learn that China, the United States, India, and Eastern and Western Europe could all fit inside Africa, with room to spare.

Suppose someone asks you to tell them one of Africa’s biggest potential other than the natural resources. What would be your answer?

Listen to the whole podcast here:

One of Africa’s biggest potential is its people.

When you look at the Global demographic implosion, African is the only hope the world has so far. In many countries, European countries, North American, and some Asian counties, for example, looking at their demographic implosion, their social safety net will not hold in the future.

Africa has human potential, which translates both in terms of production as well and consumption potential. With its one billion primarily young people, harnessing this richness will be crucial if Africa takes its rightful place among the community of nations.

According to the Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat, 60 percent of Africa’s population of approximately 1 billion is under the age of 25. This represents a huge opportunity for the Continent to position itself in the global production and consumption chain.

According to the World Bank, Africa is well endowed with natural resources, including large pools of water resources and over 200 million hectares of unused but potentially arable land, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.