"The Growing Economy"
Book Chapter, The New Harvest: Agricultural Innovation in Africa, pages 1-22
Author: Calestous Juma, Professor of the Practice of International Development; Director, Science, Technology, and Globalization Project; Principal Investigator, Agricultural Innovation in Africa
Other Chapters in The New Harvest: Agricultural Innovation in Africa:
- Advances in Science, Technology, and Engineering
- Agricultural Innovation Systems
- Enabling Infrastructure
- Human Capacity
- Governing Innovation
- Conclusions and the Way Ahead
The current global economic crisis, rising food prices, and the threat of climate change have reinforced the urgency to find lasting solutions to Africa's agricultural challenges. Africa is largely an agricultural economy with the majority of the population deriving their income from farming. Agricultural development is therefore intricately linked to overall economic development in African countries. Most policy interventions have focused on "food security," a term that is used to cover key attributes of food such as sufficiency, reliability, quality, safety, timeliness, and other aspects of food necessary for healthy and thriving populations. This chapter outlines the critical linkages between food security, agricultural development, and economic growth and explains why Africa has lagged behind other regions in agricultural productivity. Improving Africa's agricultural performance will require significant political leadership, investment, and deliberate policy efforts.
The Power of Inspirational Leadership
In a prophetic depiction of the power of inspirational models, Mark Twain famously said: "Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example." Malawi's remarkable efforts to address the challenges of food security were implemented against the rulebook of economic dogma that preaches against agricultural subsidies to farmers. Malawi's President Bingu wa Mutharika defied these teachings and put in place a series of policy measures that addressed agricultural development and overall economic development. He serves as an example for other African leaders of how aggressive agricultural investment (16% of government spending) can yield increased production and results....
The entire chapter may be downloaded below.
- Full text of "The Growing Economy" (87K PDF)
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