Agriculture and Development in Sub-Saharan Africa

With some of the world's poorest countries, Sub-Saharan Africa is a development priority for the donor community. Sub-Saharan Africa is a diverse and complex Region and is behind on most of the Millennium Development Goals. Agricultural development can make a major contribution to poverty alleviation and growth. Increasing agricultural productivity is key to improved food security for both rural and urban poor.

The World Bank's Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) has just released an assessment of the Bank's assistance to agricultural development in Sub-Saharan Africa during 1991-2006. The report comes at a critical time for the Bank, as it reassesses its work in this area, in light of the recent release of the World Development Report on agriculture, and statements from World Bank President Zoellick, that highlight Africa and agriculture as top priorities for development.

To effectively support the implementation of the Africa Action Plan and its appropriate focus on agricultural development as a key priority, IEG recommends that the Bank:
  1. Focus attention to achieve improvements in agriculture productivity, including: establish realistic goals for expansion of irrigation and water and drought management; design efficient mechanisms to provide farmers with critical information; support the development of marketing and transport infrastructure.
  2. Increase the quantity and quality of analytical work on agriculture and ensure that policy advice and lending are grounded in its findings.
  3. Establish benchmarks for measuring progress by: improving data systems to better track activities supported by the Bank; strengthening M&E to report on project activities; developing a system to coordinate agriculture activities in a country with road access, market proximity, and soil conditions.

To download a copy of the report click here.

More on agriculture in Africa.

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