The agri-food sector, which employs nearly two-thirds of Africa’s population and accounts for 30–40 per cent of its GDP, is projected to be worth more than $1 trillion by 2030, growing in line with the population of African cities and their demand for food and other agri-processed goods like textiles. The transformation of this sector – which comprises the agriculture, agri-processing and food industries – is critical for the achievement of the continent’s development agenda.
However, the transformative power of this sector for gainful socioeconomic development can only be unlocked through committed leadership by African governments. While it is the prerogative of farmers and private-sector actors – including input providers and agri-processors — to develop the market systems that create jobs, raise incomes and deliver food security, governments must create enabling environments such that these stakeholders are incentivised to sufficiently invest relative to the industry’s need and potential.
For a sustained transformation, a coordinated approach is required within governments. Ministries of agriculture lead the transformation process, backed by sector ministries and agencies including the agencies for energy, roads, investment, finance, industry, trade, education and revenue collection, and regulatory agencies. Collectively these ministries and agencies set up the enabling environment. Such coordination can, however, only materialise under the stewardship of the offices of the head of state, and ministries of finance and economic development.
Many African centres of government are increasingly leading such an agenda, together with their ministries of agriculture and ministries of industry and trade. Yet these governments still require increased support to strengthen their state capability: that is, their capacity to prioritise, coordinate, problem-solve, align resources and track progress.
AGRA and TBI are working in a partnership that explores strategies for increasing the support given to governments that have the ambition to drive a transformation in their agriculture, agri-processing and food-systems agenda. This partnership is currently being piloted in Ghana, Nigeria and Mozambique, and centres on providing long-term delivery and investment advisory in key parts of government.
As part of this partnership, AGRA and TBI have developed a package of three toolkits. The first toolkit assesses government readiness for transformation; its objective is to assess the capability of governments to drive an agricultural transformation agenda, and to identify areas that require immediate support. This tool is intended for development partners and government leaders, and will be used by TBI and AGRA to strengthen their support to governments.
The second toolkit focuses on the implementation of delivery mechanisms for agriculture and food transformation, and guides governments on the principles and factors to consider when setting up delivery mechanisms. This toolkit brings out the insights and learnings from different mechanisms used in Africa and beyond to strengthen implementation and delivery activities.
The final toolkit is structured around the capacity of ministries of agriculture and ministries of finance to strengthen their resource mobilisation efforts, for more robust resource-planning that is strongly tied to the needs of the agricultural-transformation agenda and other government priorities.
These toolkits are not static. They will continuously be refined and improved as TBI and AGRA use them to strengthen their support for state capability in the pursuit of agricultural transformation in Africa.
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