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Agriculture is growing in Subsaharan Africa (SSA), but the growth is precarious. In most countries, it has yet to reach the sustained 6% annual rate estimated by NEPAD as necessary to meet the Millennium Development Goal of cutting poverty in half by 2015. Growth needs to be accelerated, secured and used more effectively to promote broadly shared development. This requires two elements. The first is a reversal in the massive underinvestment and significant mis-investment that has taken place in the past in African agriculture, which has led to a huge cost in forgone development for Africans. There is an opportunity now for increased productive investment and improved efficiency of investment in African agriculture, which can significantly increase productivity and output, especially among certain groups of smallholders. The second element is to capture part of this productivity growth to help finance a set of investments, programs and policies that in the short to medium term will secure the assets and access to services of those smallholders facing severe resource and productivity constraints, while over the longer term provide them or their children with a path out of low-productivity farming.

John M. Staatz & Niama Nango Dembélé
License Condition: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0  
World Bank