Dr Sarah Alade, acting governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has revealed that Nigeria spends an average of $4bn annually on importing rice.
Speaking at a conference on ‘Africa Rising’ in Maputo, capital of Mozambique, with the theme, Structural Transformation and Private Sector Development in Sub-Saharan Africa, Alade described agriculture as a key to economic development in Africa.
“The continent would be able to feed itself and others if the agricultural sector is transformed,” she said. “We need to improve domestic market to harness the natural resources we have.”
She stated that the Nigerian government has attracted many foreign investors through transforming the sector and is doing everything possible to minimise risks in the sector in order to encourage local investors.
In his contribution, Mr Andrew Rugasira, the chief executive officer of Good Africa Coffee, Uganda, said Africa is blessed with mineral resources that could be explored alongside the transformation in the agricultural sector.
He noted that developed countries are more interested in the development of agriculture in the continent than Africans who own arable lands. According to him, Nigeria, Cameroon and Cote d’Ivoire, which have huge coffee resources, export less products compared to Germany.
“Germany exports on the average of about 12 million metric tonnes of coffee worth about $9. 3bn compared to the 10 million metric tonnes with a value of $2.2bn by countries in Africa,” Rugasira said.
“Germany does not grow coffee but they export more than us; it needs to be changed.”
Also, Jingdong Hua, vice president and treasurer of the International Finance Corporation called for the introduction of technology in trading in Africa, saying focus should be on improving the agricultural sector through various capital markets.