Africa has great agricultural riches, ranging from the tea and coffee fields of East Africa, through the cocoa and palm oil plantations of West Africa to the corn fields of southern Africa. Early European colonists in the continent were first attracted by Africa’s rich land, supporting settlers in southern and eastern Africa, and providing the basis for the trade boom with western Africa.
Yet, thanks to a combination of misfortunes, misrule and missed opportunities, it currently has among the lowest yields for crops and has the world’s highest number of people in need of food assistance. Most of the farming is subsistence, employing over half of Africa’s 1.2 billion population that live in the rural areas and accounting for about a third of the continent’s gross domestic product.
From providing about 10 percent of global agricultural exports five decades ago, Africa now accounts for a mere 2 percent, despite the vastness of its lands. Within these contradictions have emerged business opportunities, as prospects improve given the continent’s young population, a growing middle class and the impact of technology.
While the absence of financing had been a drawback, the biggest impediment was the lack of infrastructure, particularly power. The problem of electricity is now being increasingly tackled with off-grid solutions, such as solar and wind power, supporting irrigation and refrigeration of produce in order to keep them fresh. This has supported businesses across the continent where fresh vegetables (and even flowers) grown in Africa are now made available in stores in Europe.
It’s a situation that has spawned many business and investment opportunities in the continent, of which Afrika Insights is well placed to provide useful advice that would make it possible to avoid pitfalls that may often not be obvious. So, whether you want to invest in a flower farm in Ethiopia or you want to be sure the cocoa for your supply chain is ethically grown, you can always reach out to Afrika Insights for those and more.