Reaping richer returns: Public spending priorities for African agriculture productivity growth
This report (PDF) by the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and the World Bank 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. According to the authors enhancing the productivity of agriculture is vital for Sub-Saharan Africa’s economic future and is one of the most important tools to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity in the region. How governments elect to spend public resources has significant development impact in this regard. According to the study, the challenge is not only that agricultural public spending in Sub-Saharan Africa lags behind other developing regions but its impact is made ineffective by programs and transfers that tend to benefit the better off, with insignificant gains for agriculture, or for the poor. Improvements in the policy environment, better institutions, and investments in rural public goods positively affect agricultural productivity. These, combined with smarter use of public funds, have helped lay the foundations for agricultural productivity growth around the world, resulting in a wealth of important lessons from which African policy makers and development practitioners can draw. 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. In addition to increased financial support for the agricultural sector, to maximize impact governments should ensure that public spending is combined with efficient implementation.