Oil? Human Resources? Or land?14 May 2013


Isabelle Alenus-Crosby

Almost one year ago, I entitled one of my blogs “Food for Thought”.

In it I mention that food shortages might soon cease to be a reality in Africa thanks to ”new crops resistant to heat, droughts, and every bug under the sun”, and that according to Harvard University, the entire continent will easily be able to produce enough to feed its growing population within the next decade. In fact, Africa might start exporting food by 2020!

I would like to elaborate on this today.

Africa is the second largest continent in the world after Asia, and with a total land area of more than 3 million hectares, its landmass is more than 3 x that of the USA.

Agriculture and horticulture are crucial economic activities, providing employment for many, and serving as the basis for many industries. With more than 200 million people (50% of the total labour force) active in agriculture a decade ago (WHO), it is estimated that this percentage will increase to 60 % by the end of this year.

As Africa continues to grow in economic significance, combined with the afore-mentioned new technologies, is it safe to assume that land is therefore the continent’s greatest asset?