This Op-Ed, co-authored by Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, President of Tanzania; Ellen Kullman, CEO of DuPont; and Dr. Rajiv Shah, Administrator of USAID, was originally published on May 18, 2012 in TheHill.
Today, Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the fastest growing regions in the world, home to seven of the world’s fastest-growing economies. In fact, just this week, the International Monetary Fund’s Regional Economic Outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa projected Sub-Saharan Africa’s growth to remain above 5 percent — faster than many newly industrialized Asian economies.
The major force behind this dramatic growth has been significant increases in private sector investment and trade in the region. Foreign direct investment flows to the continent now hover around $80 billion and trade has tripled over the last decade. But this private sector boom has largely missed Africa’s agricultural economy, favoring investments in resources like oil, gas and minerals.
As a result of decades of underinvestment, today Africa is the only continent that does not produce enough to feed its own citizens. Last year’s food crisis and famine in the Horn of Africa serve as a stark reminder that chronic hunger and malnutrition remain a persistent problem on the continent.