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Halving poverty by 2015 within reach for many African countries, says new ReSAKSS publication

March 31, 2009

The new ReSAKSS Working Paper No. 25, “Investing in African Agriculture to Halve Poverty by 2015,” estimates the level of agricultural spending that will be required to achieve the Millennium Development Goal of halving poverty by 2015 (MDG1) in 30 Sub-Saharan African countries. The results show that without additional growth in the agriculture sector of at least 7.5 percent annually, Africa –as a continent-will not be able to meet MDG1.

This growth rate exceeds the CAADP target of 6 percent agriculture growth annually. However, this finding varies across countries. For some countries, such as Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda, the 6 percent target will be sufficient to meet MDG1. Of these countries, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Uganda, Mozambique, and Ghana have already been able to achieve growth rates above what would be required. Meeting MDG 1 is therefore possible and within reach for many African countries, as long as governments allocate sufficient resources to the sector, and their policy and institutional environments promote broad-based growth and development, according to the ReSAKSS paper.

To achieve the desired growth rates, the results suggest that, overall, African countries will need to boost their agricultural spending to $33 to $39 billion annually (in 2000 international dollars) from 2005 to 2015. This translates into an increase of agricultural spending by 20 to 24 percent annually. The feasibility of this varies across country, from Ghana at 9.5 percent to far more difficult levels such as Madagascar at 33 percent. The report concludes that although increasing public resources to the agriculture sector is crucial to meet MDG1, it is equally important to prioritize investments in agricultural research and extension, rural infrastructure and rural education for the greatest impact on agricultural growth and poverty reduction.

Download the working paper (PDF, 391 KB) or the issue brief (PDF, 273 KB).

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