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How should African governments prioritize public spending for agricultural and rural development?

June 18, 2009
IFPRI Policy Brief No. 12, 2009

IFPRI Policy Brief No. 12, 2009

IFPRI policy brief 12, “Setting Priorities for Public Spending for Agricultural and Rural Development in Africa” argues that in order to achieve greater and better-distributed growth and poverty reduction outcomes, African governments need to increase their spending on agriculture and rural roads; direct complementary spending to certain sectors, such as education; carefully target public spending; and coordinate spending among different levels of government. 

As African governments work to increase agricultural spending and boost agricultural growth, they face a dearth of information about which types of public investments contribute the most to development goals. How should scarce resources be allocated across different sectors of the economy—such as agriculture, infrastructure, health, and education—for maximizing development outcomes? Within agriculture, how should resources be allocated among, for instance, agricultural research, extension, irrigation, and input subsidies? Drawing mainly on case studies from Africa, but also from Asia, this brief provides insights on the contributions of different types of spending to poverty, growth, and welfare outcomes in a variety of circumstances. These circumstances include Ethiopia’s relatively large share of public spending allocated to agriculture, Nigeria’s rich natural resource endowments, Ghana’s relatively sound governance environment, Uganda’s past success in economic growth and poverty reduction, and Tanzania’s rapid transition from a planned to a market-driven economy.

More information is available here.

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