Hunger has become such a significant and strategic problem in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) that it can no longer be evaded. With the majority of Africans living in rural areas, rural and urban population both rapidly increasing, cereal and livestock production stagnant or falling, 194 million people living with food insecurity, child malnutrition doubling, poverty increasing, and economic growth lagging behind other developing regions, a new development strategy incorporating different approaches needs to be developed for this region. To drive out hunger, agriculture needs to be the core component of poverty alleviation programs in SSA, but agriculture alone will not end hunger. Seasonal migration and rural nonfarm activity are also important to the livelihood strategies of rural people. And HIV/AIDS has taken the life of an estimated 7 million agricultural workers since 1985, and it is projected to reduce the agricultural labor force by 16 to 26 percent by 2020 for various SSA countries. Therefore, linkages with other sectors such as health and the nonfarm economy are essential for success. On November 26-27, 2001 the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) hosted a workshop for USAID titled “Future Opportunities for Rural Africa.” The workshop was an opportunity for colleagues from USAID and IFPRI, together with other USAID partners and outside experts, to come together to discuss USAID’s renewed commitment to agricultural development in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The workshop was intended to take stock of current and emerging issues, synthesize existing knowledge, discuss alternative development paths, identify a process for developing a comprehensive investment strategy for rural Africa, and to discuss support systems for guiding and monitoring these investments. This proceedings summarizes the presentations and discussions that took place at the workshop. The first session reviewed recent trends and future prospects in Sub- Saharan Africa. This was followed by panel presentations and discussions focusing on the key areas of trade and market liberalization, technology, public infrastructure and human capital, equitable growth, and reversing environmental degradation. For each of these key topics, the proceedings summarizes the discussions in terms of recent and emerging issues, challenges and constraints, knowledge gaps, and new approaches and best bets available to achieve the desired objectives. The final sessions of the workshop was devoted to a presentation and discussion of a draft of USAID’s Agriculture Initiative to Cut Hunger in Africa.


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