Awakening Africa’s Sleeping Giant: Prospects for Commercial Agriculture in the Guinea Savannah Zone and Beyond

The World Bank
978-0-8213-7941-7, eISBN: 978-0-8213-7942-4

For the foreseeable future, reducing poverty in Africa will depend largely on stimulating agricultural growth. Within agriculture, a powerful driver of growth is commercial agriculture. Commercial agriculture can develop along a number of pathways, yet many developing regions have not progressed very far along any of these. African agriculture continues to lag, as reflected in the erosion during the past 30 years in the international competitiveness of many traditional African export crops, as well as in the competitiveness of some food crops for which import dependence has increased. In contrast, over the same period two relatively backward and landlocked agricultural regions in the developing world - the Cerrado region of Brazil and the Northeast Region of Thailand - have developed at a rapid pace and conquered important world markets. Their success defied the predictions of many skeptics, who had asserted that the two regions’ challenging agroecological characteristics, remote locations, and high levels of poverty would prove impossible to overcome.

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