Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, right, is recognized by UN Food Agriculture Organization General Director Jacques Diouf at a meeting titled "Brazil—Africa Dialogue on Food Security, Fight Against Hunger, & Rural Development."
"The End of Economic Ideology in African Agriculture"
January 20, 2011
Author: Calestous Juma, Professor of the Practice of International Development; Director, Science, Technology, and Globalization Project; Principal Investigator, Agricultural Innovation in Africa
Africa can feed itself in a generation. It can do so by harnessing abundant technologies that are available worldwide, expanding internal regional markets and expanding rural infrastructure. But to achieve this, African leaders at the highest level possible will need to take charge of the agenda for agriculture. The continent cannot afford anymore to listen to well-meaning consultants in affluent countries that still rely on conventional and traditional approaches in dealing with the ongoing crisis. It has sufficient lessons to learn from within Africa and from other countries to draw on.
Many African countries have managed in recent years to design innovative policies and enable institutional changes that help promote agricultural innovation. The courageous leaders of these countries have realized that they should rely on tested pragmatism rather than economic ideology. For example, the recovery of Rwanda after the genocide focused on reviving agriculture. Malawi has shown that strategic support for farmers can stimulate agriculture within a short period. In both cases decisive high-level leadership on the part of heads of state and the use of existing technologies have played a major role.
These countries have learned that agricultural development can greatly benefit from the global knowledge economy if research conducted in academia, government, civil society, and private industry is effectively applied in the local private sector in accordance with a well-designed regional integration policy....
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