The Changing Context and Prospects for Agricultural and Rural Development in Africa

Hans Binswanger-Mkhize and Alex McCalla

We undertake this task in a period of optimism about the prospects for Africa and for African agriculture. Per capita economic growth is now above three percent, and per capita agricultural growth above 1 percent. Armed conflicts are down to five from 15 in 2003. Democracy has advanced significantly. Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) now has faster progress in its business environment than the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and Latin America (World Bank and IFC, 2006). Africa is in the process of strengthening its Regional and sub-Regional Institutions. Agriculture has returned as a priority on the International Development Agenda. Economic growth and higher international agricultural prices are creating opportunities in domestic, regional and international markets. The African Union (AU) in conjunction with the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) have developed the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Program (CAADP).

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