Agricultural Productivity Growth, Resilience, and Economic Transformation in Sub-Saharan Africa: Implications for USAID
To read the full report, click here
To read the policy brief, click here.
A new BIFAD-commissioned report, Agricultural Productivity Growth, Resilience, and Economic Transformation in Sub-Saharan Africa: Implications for USAID, reviews the evidence of evolving economic transformation and progress towards resilience in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and provides a priority agenda for promoting transformation and resilience in the region, recognizing the varying challenges faced by fragile, low-income, lower-middle-income, and resource-rich countries.
Key Findings: Mounting evidence points to profound economic transformation in SSA since the early 2000s. Across a broad range of indicators—health, life expectancy, education, public service delivery, government effectiveness, and public investment in future economic transformation—most African countries have made remarkable progress. While agricultural production growth has been a major driver of SSA’s economic transformation and improvements in living standards, production growth has been achieved mainly through the expansion of cropped area rather than through productivity growth. Those countries in Africa and Asia that have made substantial investments in adaptive agricultural research and development and extension (R&D&E) systems have shown the catalytic role of productivity-led agricultural growth in contributing to employment, resilience, and economic transformation. The challenges from uneven economic growth and development across the low-income, lower-middle-income, fragile, and resource-rich states point to different programmatic responses.
Recommendations: The report recommends that USAID contribute to economic transformation and resilience by supporting African governments and other partners across the following opportunity areas:
- Supporting COVID-19 recovery;
- Accelerating productivity-led agricultural growth;
- Expanding employment opportunities for young Africans;
- Achieving economic empowerment for women;
- Capturing the opportunities for intra-African agricultural trade and supporting the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement;
- Reducing the rural infrastructural deficit;
- Leveraging USAID strengths in institutional capacity development; and
- Leveraging USAID convening power and U.S. global leadership in agricultural innovation.
- T. S. Jayne is University Foundation Professor of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics at Michigan State University.
- Louise Fox is Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, Visiting Scholar at the Blum Center for Developing Economies at the University of California Berkeley, and former Chief Economist at USAID.
- Keith Fuglie is Senior Economist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service and formerly Senior Economist in the Bureau for Resilience and Food Security, USAID.
- Adesoji Adelaja is the John A. Hannah Distinguished Professor in Land Policy, Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics at Michigan State University.