In spite of its abundant mineral resources and the activities of many mining companies extracting those resources from only a very small part of the total land area, much of Africa is still in penury. Animal agriculture is a major contributor to the economy of many African countries, especially in the arid and semi-arid areas where it occupies about 80% of the land. The sector employs some 50% of the total agricultural labour force, contributes about 10% of the gross domestic product (GDP) and accounts for 40% of agricultural GDP. An estimated 100 million people work in the pastoral economy alone. Yet the livestock sector receives less than 2% of the national budgetary allocation for development, in spite of facing changing conditions and needing innovative thinking. African governments need to find the will to insist that mining companies contribute to country revenues, so that development of mineral wealth can provide financial resources to support agricultural development and innovation. Through their sense of corporate social responsibility mining companies already contribute to improved infrastructure and local community well-being. African governments need to adopt an ‘Innovation Platform approach’, to understand how to use mineral-derived revenue to overcome technological and institutional constraints in dealing with the ever-changing needs, environments and advances in agriculture, including the livestock sector, to achieve economic benefits.