John Campbell

Africa in Transition

Campbell tracks political and security developments across sub-Saharan Africa.

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Showing posts for "Agriculture"

Really, Really Rich People in Africa

by John Campbell
Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan (back L) looks on as Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote points to the site of a new cement plant branch during a commissioning ceremony at the Dangote cement factory in Obajana, Kogi state, June 11, 2012. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters) Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan (back L) looks on as Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote points to the site of a new cement plant branch during a commissioning ceremony at the Dangote cement factory in Obajana, Kogi state, June 11, 2012. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters)

According to Forbes, the first African ever has entered into the “top 25” of the world’s billionaires. He is Aliko Dangote, number 23. Forbes says that his net worth is now U.S. $25 billion up from $3.3 billion in 2007. His wealth is based on cement, but he is also investing in agriculture. Read more »

South African Land Reform: A Conundrum

by John Campbell
Harvesters transport a load of wild Rooibos tea by donkey cart in the remote mountains of the Cedarberg region, about 300km (186 miles) north of [Cape Town], March 30, 2006. (Mike Hutchings/Courtesy Reuters) Harvesters transport a load of wild Rooibos tea by donkey cart in the remote mountains of the Cedarberg region, about 300km (186 miles) north of [Cape Town], March 30, 2006. (Mike Hutchings/Courtesy Reuters)

The Africa Research Institute has published a succinct Briefing Note that outlines the problems of land reform in South Africa and the inherent contradictions in the government’s approach. The Briefer also includes an excellent map of the agricultural regions in the country from the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO). Read more »

African Development Revisited

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
An aerial view shows the central business district in Nigeria's commercial capital of Lagos, April 7, 2009. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters). An aerial view shows the central business district in Nigeria's commercial capital of Lagos, April 7, 2009. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters).

This is a guest post by Owen Cylke. Mr. Cylke is a development professional and a retired senior foreign service officer with USAID.

A spate of press articles over the past several months speculate on the quality and direction of development in Africa. For the most part, the articles reflect the establishment view that things are looking brighter; but brighter for whom? Read more »

Revitalizing Africa’s Rural Future

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A woman works in a rice mill in Aliade community in the Gwer local government area of the central state of Benue 05/10/2012. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) A woman works in a rice mill in Aliade community in the Gwer local government area of the central state of Benue 05/10/2012. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Owen Cylke. Mr. Cylke is a development professional and a retired senior foreign service officer with USAID.

Dr. Ibrahim Hassane Mayaki, Executive Secretary of New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), this week declared his organization’s intent to “revitalize” development efforts in Africa. Recognizing the successful and well-supported efforts of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), which has been the foundation for development efforts in Africa since its launch in 2003, Dr. Mayaki was careful to describe his intention as a natural next step in the CAADP process. Read more »

Is the Africa Glass Half Full or Half Empty?

by John Campbell
Early morning smog hangs over Cape Town, the product of smoke and fumes from fires, factories and automobiles 03/08/2003. (Mike Hutchings/Courtesy Reuters) Early morning smog hangs over Cape Town, the product of smoke and fumes from fires, factories and automobiles 03/08/2003. (Mike Hutchings/Courtesy Reuters)

Simon Fremantle has written a thoughtful analysis on whether the Africa glass is half full or half empty. He argues persuasively that this is the wrong question. A binary discussion between the “Afro-optimists” (he counts himself as one) and the “Afro-pessimists” can obscure more than it illuminates. Instead he asks for deeper analysis of Africa’s “clear merits and persistent challenges” with the goal of “understanding how the continent can reach the next level of growth. He goes on briefly to consider such issues as the need for greater economic diversification, better infrastructure and education. He notes that while Africa potentially has two-thirds of the world’s cropland, only 10 percent is under formal land tenure, which inhibits agricultural investment. Read more »

Zimbabwe Crops Fail, Hunger Looms

by John Campbell
Zimbabwean peasant farmer Loyce Nkala explains that she will reap nothing from her dying crop of maize in the drought prone district of Filabusi 450 km's south west of the capital Harare March 13, 2005. (Howard Burditt/Courtesy Reuters) Zimbabwean peasant farmer Loyce Nkala explains that she will reap nothing from her dying crop of maize in the drought prone district of Filabusi 450 km's south west of the capital Harare March 13, 2005. (Howard Burditt/Courtesy Reuters)

Of Zimbabwe’s almost 13 million people, 1.6 million of them will require food aid, and the number is likely to grow. An estimated 1.8 million tons of maize, the staple crop, is necessary to feed Zimbabwe. But, farmers unions are saying that the harvest is likely to be 1.1 million tons short. The ministry of agriculture is saying that about one third of all planted crops have failed due to the lack of irrigation and 45 percent of the maize crop must be written off. The World Food Program is preparing for a big increase in need. But WFP’s Zimbabwe program budget of $119 million faces a shortfall of about $85 million. Read more »

Guest Post: Agriculture and Employment in Africa

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A Rwandan tea picker works in a field at Mulindi estate, about 60 km (40 miles) north of the capital Kigali, August 5, 2010. (Finbarr O'Reilly/Courtesy Reuters) A Rwandan tea picker works in a field at Mulindi estate, about 60 km (40 miles) north of the capital Kigali, August 5, 2010. (Finbarr O'Reilly/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Owen Cylke. Mr. Cylke is a development professional and a retired senior foreign service officer with USAID.

This year 10 million young Africans will enter the workforce. This number will continue to increase until 2030 when it will peak at about 18 million annual new entrants to the workforce. Read more »

Who Owns the Land in South Africa?

by John Campbell
Farm workers are seen at a farm in Eikeihof outside Johannesburg September 30, 2008. (Siphiwe Sibeko/Courtesy Reuters) Farm workers are seen at a farm in Eikeihof outside Johannesburg September 30, 2008. (Siphiwe Sibeko/Courtesy Reuters)

At the just-concluded African National Congress (ANC) policy conference, the issue of land reform surfaced – but did not really go anywhere. There was a call for “review” of the principle of “willing seller, willing buyer,” and delegates complained that the pace of land redistribution has been glacial. As was true of virtually all of the other important policy issues, serious discussion of reform was postponed. The conference was mostly concerned with politicking, as rivals President Jacob Zuma, Deputy President Kgakema Motlanthe and Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale jostled for advantage, looking toward the December conference where the ANC will elect its top leadership. Read more »

South Africa’s Land Issue Not So Simple

by John Campbell
A worker walks between rows of vegetables at a farm in Eikenhof, south of Johannesburg, April 24, 2012. (Siphiwe Sibeko/Courtesy Reuters) A worker walks between rows of vegetables at a farm in Eikenhof, south of Johannesburg, April 24, 2012. (Siphiwe Sibeko/Courtesy Reuters)

Zuma must walk a fine line, especially on land.

Much or most of South Africa’s land remains in the hands of whites, and land reform proceeds at a snail’s pace—making it a source of grievance among many blacks. When Nelson Mandela was president, his plan stated that blacks would own thirty percent of land by 2014; today, they only own eight percent. It has been exploited by Julius Malema, the former head of the youth league of the governing party. (Proposals for the seizure without compensation of white-owned land and for the nationalization of the mines have also been floated by parts of the African National Congress.) Malema is a political enemy of President Jacob Zuma, who will likely face a leadership challenge at the December party conference. Read more »

Guest Post: Rural Futures

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A worker picks tea at a plantation in Githunguri, 30 km (18 miles) from Kenya's capital Nairobi, January 6, 2012. (Thomas Mukoya/Courtesy Reuters) A worker picks tea at a plantation in Githunguri, 30 km (18 miles) from Kenya's capital Nairobi, January 6, 2012. (Thomas Mukoya/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Owen Cylke. Mr. Cylke is a development professional and a retired senior foreign service officer with USAID. In his post, he discusses the CAADP meeting in Nairobi in early May, and agriculture’s future role in development. In a related development, the White House recently announced a new U.S. Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa, a strategy underscoring the role of agriculture in spurring economic growth, trade, and investment. Read more »