Blog Post

Substantial Investment, Increased Coordination Needed to Achieve SDGs: 2022 Africa Agricultural Status Report Released

Food systems around the world have experienced numerous shocks in the past two years, and African food systems are no exception. The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, global and local supply chain disruptions, climate change, and the Russia-Ukraine conflict have placed enormous pressure on food and nutrition security in the region, threatening the likelihood that Africa will achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. The 2022 Africa Agriculture Status Report (AASR), published by AGRA, focuses on accelerating more sustainable and resilient African food systems to better respond to these challenges from a holistic, collaborative perspective.

The report highlights several “megatrends”: demographics, economic, environmental, and social factors that are impacting Africa’s food systems. They include:

  • rural population growth and increasing land scarcity;
  • growing urban populations and increasing demand for food;
  • economic transformation, including higher wage rates and per capita incomes;
  • climate change and increasingly frequent extreme weather events;
  • ongoing global health crises, civil conflict, and economic disruptions;
  • accelerated pace of technical innovation in digital agriculture;
  • the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and other continental development frameworks;
  • demand for inclusive transformation and social safety net systems that protect and empower women, youth, and other vulnerable groups; and
  • growing need for technological innovation and behavioral change by farmers and traders to address widening yield gaps in cereals and oilseeds in the region.

The scope of these trends is clearly daunting. However, addressing them appropriately, the report’s authors argue, is essential in achieving several important SDGs, including SDG 2: Zero Hunger, SDG 3: Good Health and Well-Being, SDG 5: Gender Equality, SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities, and SDG 15: Life on Land. Doing so will take coordination, collaboration, and accountability among governments, the private sector, farmer organizations, and development and research organizations, including significant investments from all actors and renewed focus on building local, national, and regional capacity in agricultural research, development, and extension systems.

The call for building local, national, and regional capacity is echoed in the report’s encouragement of African governments to reduce their reliance on donor-led actions and take on a more central leadership role in establishing priorities and strategies for food system transformation that truly meet needs “on the ground”. They can do this through strengthening continental agreements and partnerships in order to better coordinate across countries and sectors and to design more targeted programs and mechanisms with clear mandates and reliable accountability. Existing programs and platforms can also be expanded and enhanced to ensure that experienced local voices are being heard and that capacity-building is adapted to local conditions.

The report also breaks down the substantial investments needed to spur Africa’s food system transformation. Its authors estimate that the region will need between US$ 40 and US$ 77 billion per year in public sector funds and as much as US$ 180 billion in private sector funds between now and 2030 if it is to reach the SDGs. Meeting these investment needs will take government action to reduce risk and provide incentives for the private sector. Further, getting capital into the hands of those who need it to actually drive food system transformation will require innovative mechanisms, such as risk-sharing facilities, supply chain financing using digital mechanisms, fintechs, agricultural lease financing, and warehouse receipts.

The 2022 AASR concludes with a list of priorities for African governments, private sector actors, and international organizations to tackle in order to achieve the SDGs by 2030. These include:

  • prioritization of investments in food systems as part of national security, poverty reduction, and rural development agendas;
  • reduction of reliance on international partners for capacity-building, funding, and policy influence when it comes to agricultural research, development, and extension;
  • commitment to national agricultural action plans that emphasize productivity growth on existing farmland;
  • increases in concessional lending and grants along key nodes of agrifood value chains;
  • development and implementation of true cost accounting frameworks to measure food system impacts from a more holistic lens;
  • increases in lending to agrifood SMEs; and
  • investments in innovative mechanisms and technologies like digital agricultural services, improved post-harvest handling, value addition, improved seeds, mechanization, agro-chemicals, and irrigation.