Knowledge Note

Agriculture is a dominant sector in Africa, and is essential for economic development. It employs more than 60 percent of Africa’s labor force, contributes 17 percent of aggregate gross domestic product (GDP), and accounts for 40 percent of total economic output. Furthermore, the GDP growth generated by agriculture has been shown to be at least twice as effective in reducing poverty as GDP growth in other sectors. Accelerated agricultural growth is crucial for reducing hunger and poverty, empowering youth and women, and achieving Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 1, 3, and 8. African agribusiness continues to face numerous challenges, however, including low productivity in the agriculture sector resulting from the lack of farm inputs—such as chemicals, equipment, feed, seed, energy, and adequate technology—and poor storage for produce. In addition, there is a lack of affordable finance and access to credit, and underinvestment in infrastructure. IFC decided to partner with ECOM Ltd, a leading agro-industrial corporation and IFC investment client, to help address some of these gaps.

About the Presenters

Nkatha Michira

Jane Onoka