African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA): The Key to Revolutionizing African Agriculture?

Released at AGRF, the Africa Agriculture Status Report (AASR) Highlights AfCFTA’s Potential in Shaping the Continent’s Food Systems

Dar es Salaam: At this year’s AGRF Summit, the much-anticipated Africa Agriculture Status Report (AASR) was unveiled, offering a fresh perspective on the continent’s agricultural challenges and potentials. Chief among its revelations is the potential of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to be Africa’s pivotal instrument in transforming its food systems.

According to the AASR, the AfCFTA isn’t just an economic agreement; it’s the embodiment of Africa’s unity in a rapidly fragmenting global scenario. Beyond its potential to lift 50 million Africans out of poverty and boost households’ incomes by 9% by 2035, AfCFTA stands as a testament to the power of regional collaboration and the promise of integrated markets.

However, the AASR doesn’t stop at AfCFTA. It sheds light on an array of other pressing issues, from infrastructural gaps costing the continent approximately $107.5 billion annually to the promise of a technological overhaul that could touch the lives of over 369 million people.

A particular emphasis in the report is on the power of youth in reshaping Africa’s food systems. With Africa projected to have the world’s largest and youngest workforce by mid-century, its demographic dividend is enormous. The young minds and hands of the continent are poised to drive innovations, champion sustainability, and lead the push towards a prosperous agricultural future.

Yet, the road to this future is not without its hurdles. The AASR meticulously outlines the structural struggles, from food production to distribution, that could jeopardize food and nutritional security. Solutions will require a holistic, integrated strategy that synthesizes the efforts of diverse stakeholders and emphasizes the pivotal roles of gender and youth.

Organizations dedicated to sustainable growth and innovative solutions in the African agricultural sector, have expressed their commitment to heeding the findings of the AASR. For them, this report is both an affirmation of their beliefs and a rallying cry for unified action.

The AASR, with its comprehensive insights and forward-looking approach, has set the stage for what promises to be a transformative era in African agriculture. As discussions continue at the AGRF, the report’s findings will undoubtedly shape dialogues, strategies, and visions for a food-secure Africa.