The new Africa regional flagship study, Reaping Richer Returns: Public Spending Priorities for Africa Agriculture Productivity Growth, explores how effective, efficient and climate resilient public spending in and for agriculture can be the foundation for transformation and reducing poverty in Sub-Saharan African countries.
“Sub-Saharan African countries tend to underfund high-return public good investments related to technology generation and adoption, strengthening markets, and rural infrastructure. The study recommends areas where African governments can prioritize spending to reap richer returns, including implementing smart subsidies, boosting spending on research and development and eliminating barriers that impede rapid uptake of new technologies, and investing in market access and land governance.” Aparajita Goyal, World Bank senior economist and task team leader of the Africa regional flagship study.
Conditions are ripe for boosting the productivity of African agriculture, the study says. African regional markets are growing rapidly, driven by population, urbanization, and income growth, and are forecast to reach a trillion dollars by 2030. Prospects are also promising on the supply side, according to the study, since Africa’s potential for agricultural prosperity is enhanced by an abundance of vital components.
“To make a significant dent on poverty, enhancing the productivity and competitiveness of African agriculture must become a priority. Reforming the design and implementation of public spending programs while rebalancing in favor of high-return public goods could produce significant gains.”The study uses the successes of African and other developing countries around the world to provide lessons for African agriculture, the quality of public spending and the efficiency of resource use. For example, input promotion during high agricultural productivity periods in Asian and South American countries addressed systemic constraints to productivity through integrated investments in improved technologies, extension services, water and soil management, and market linkages.