The previous Presidential Addresses at the AAAE (Oluoch-Kosura 2007; Adesina 2010) both set out to tell a story about African agricultural development at large, rather than about one particular aspect of the sector, or one particular part of Africa. Both, in other words, tried to give a bird’s-eye view without generalising to the point where it becomes meaningless. In this address, I try to follow in their footsteps. I start with a note on nomenclature: Africa is a large continent that is easily recognisable on maps. Sub-Saharan Africa is only a part of Africa, and we should stop outsiders using this as a descriptor of our continent. Furthermore, Africa is not a continent of HIV/AIDS, coups d’état, weak states and corrupt governments. It has all of these, but is a big place that has a lot of other, more positive, features. In this address I discuss elements of two issues that are important to the future of agriculture across the continent: the ways in which the structure of farming is expected to change over time, and the future shape of food retail. Section 3 concludes.


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