Book Chapter

The Growing Economy

| January 2011

"The current global economic crisis, rising food prices, and the threat of climate change have reinforced the urgency to find lasting solutions to Africa's agricultural challenges. Africa is largely an agricultural economy with the majority of the population deriving their income from farming. Agricultural development is therefore intricately linked to overall economic development in African countries. Most policy interventions have focused on "food security," a term that is used to cover key attributes of food such as sufficiency, reliability, quality, safety, timeliness, and other aspects of food necessary for healthy and thriving populations. This chapter outlines the critical linkages between food security, agricultural development, and economic growth and explains why Africa has lagged behind other regions in agricultural productivity. Improving Africa's agricultural performance will require significant political leadership, investment, and deliberate policy efforts.

The Power of Inspirational Leadership

In a prophetic depiction of the power of inspirational models, Mark Twain famously said: "Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example." Malawi's remarkable efforts to address the challenges of food security were implemented against the rulebook of economic dogma that preaches against agricultural subsidies to farmers. Malawi's President Bingu wa Mutharika defied these teachings and put in place a series of policy measures that addressed agricultural development and overall economic development. He serves as an example for other African leaders of how aggressive agricultural investment (16% of government spending) can yield increased production and results...."

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For Academic Citation: Juma, Calestous. “The Growing Economy.” January 2011.