Africa's Potential Beckoning

Published on 30th June 2010

Ethiopia's one–dollar-per-acre deal reminds me of a question that was put to Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia during the recent World Economic Forum in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. An Ethiopian participant sought to know why his government was leasing out thousands of acres of land to foreigners. The Premier, in a very calm voice replied that his government was simply leasing out idle land!

Idle land in Africa? Not a far fetched reply if you consider reports to the effect that Sub Sahara Africa has an estimated 395 million hectares of unused farmland. Why are over 265 million Africans suffering from malnutrition? Why is 30% of the continent's population faced with starvation? Who is responsible? Is it the so called international community, African governments or the African person?

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