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Book Chapter, The New Harvest: Agricultural Innovation in Africa, pages xiii-xxvi

January 2011

Author: Calestous Juma, Professor of the Practice of International Development; Director, Science, Technology, and Globalization Project; Principal Investigator, Agricultural Innovation in Africa

Belfer Center Programs or Projects: Agricultural Innovation in Africa; Science, Technology, and Globalization; Science, Technology, and Public Policy


Other Chapters in The New Harvest: Agricultural Innovation in Africa:

In his acceptance speech as Chairman of the Assembly of the African Union (AU) in February 2010, President Bingu wa Mutharika of Malawi said:

One challenge we all face is poverty, hunger and malnutrition of large populations. Therefore achieving food security at the African level should be able to address these problems. I would therefore request the AU Assembly to share the dream that five years from now no child in Africa should die of hunger and malnutrition. No child should go to bed hungry. I realize that this is an ambitious dream but one that can be realized. We all know that Africa is endowed with vast fertile soils, favourable climates, vast water basins and perennial rivers that could be utilized for irrigation farming and lead to the Green Revolution, and mitigate the adverse effects of climate change. We can therefore grow enough food to feed everyone in Africa. I am, therefore, proposing that our agenda for Africa should focus on agriculture and food security. I propose that our slogan should be: "Feeding Africa through New Technologies: Let Us Act Now."

This statement lays out a clear vision of how to approach Africa's agricultural challenge. This book builds on this optimistic outlook against a general background of gloom that fails to account for a wide range of success stories across the continent. African agriculture is at the crossroads. Persistent food shortages are now being compounded by new threats arising from climate change. But Africa faces three major opportunities that can help transform its agriculture to be a force for economic growth. First, advances in science, technology, and engineering worldwide offer Africa new tools needed to promote sustainable agriculture. Second, efforts to create regional markets will provide new incentives for agricultural production and trade. Third, a new generation of African leaders is helping the continent to focus on long-term economic transformation. This book provides policy-relevant information on how to align science, technology, and engineering missions with regional agricultural development goals.

This book argues that sustaining African economic prosperity will require significant efforts to modernize the continent's economy through the application of science and technology in agriculture. In other words, agriculture needs to be viewed as a knowledge-based entrepreneurial activity. The argument is based on the premise that smart investments in agriculture will have multiplier effects in many sectors of the economy and help spread prosperity. More specifically, the book focuses on the importance of boosting support for agricultural research as part of a larger agenda to promote innovation, invest in enabling infrastructure, build human capacity, stimulate entrepreneurship and improve the governance of innovation....

The entire chapter may be downloaded below.


For more information about this publication please contact the STG Coordinator.

For Academic Citation:

Juma, Calestous. "Introduction." Chap. in The New Harvest: Agricultural Innovation in Africa. New York: Oxford University Press, January 2011.

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