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Agriculture projects have to be bankable, says ADB

Staff Writer |
Agriculture projects developed for Africa must be bankable and incentivized in order to attract private investors who seek to make profit, and the youth who seek employment.

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This was the key message shared by Jennifer Blanke, Vice-President, Agriculture, Human and Social Development at the African Development Bank, on Thursday at the 7th African Green Revolution Forum in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.

Blanke was part of a panel in a session titled “Closing the Deal – Investing in African Agriculture”, alongside Senegalese Minister for Agriculture, Papa Seck; Sani Dangote, Vice-President of the Dangote Group; and Krim Lotfi Senhaji, CEO of OCP Africa.

Blanke told the session that the narrative around agriculture in Africa should shift from farming being considered as a way of life to a business venture.

“Traditionally there is an expectation for big agricultural projects from governments. Now more than ever we need to recognize that financing from the private sector is also necessary for Africa’s green revolution to take shape,” she said.

“It’s not just the financing from government and the private sector that we need, but also the know-how. We are looking at technologies for agriculture which are available but tend not to get to the farmers because there are no private investors to bridge the gap.”

She said that the African Development Bank will invest US $24 billion over the next ten years into agriculture, which she also said is not enough to lead a prosperous green revolution in Africa.

Blanke conceded that agriculture is not free of risk for business ventures, and called on organizations and governments to offer guarantees and insurances for agribusiness.

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