Nearly all of Africa’s 70% poor engaged in agriculture
The World Bank has launched the 2008 world development report (WDR) in Rwanda’s capital, Kigali sighting agriculture as a pillar to sustainable economy.
“We all agree that agriculture is important for most of developing countries including Rwanda to meet their growth objectives and poverty reduction goals,” said the World Bank country manager Victoria Kwakwa during the launch.
Kwakwa said 70 percent of the poor in Africa are based in rural areas and nearly all of them are engaged in agriculture.
The ceremony was attended by Rwanda’s minister of Agriculture Anastase Murekezi, cabinet ministers and representatives of regional economic bodies.
Kwakwa noted that this year’s report focuses on agriculture as a key development component, despite the fact that the last report on agriculture was published in 1982.
“The sector employs two-thirds of the labor force and accounts for a third of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth,” Kwakwa said.
In Rwanda, agriculture contributes about 36 percent of the GDP and employs an estimated 80 percent of the entire population.
Rwanda’s agriculture minister Anastase Murekezi said the findings in the report were good tools to transforming agriculture in Rwanda from rudimentary methods of farming to modern methods capable of contributing deeply to the economic development of the country.
The report notes that in the 21st century, agriculture continues to be fundamental for sustainable development and poverty reduction.
It shows that three of every four poor people in developing countries live in rural areas. Surprisingly, 2.1 billion people live on less than $2 a day and 880 million on less than $1 a day. Most depend on agriculture for their livelihoods.
“Agriculture alone will not be enough to massively reduce poverty, but it has proven to be uniquely powerful for that task as the world seeks to halve poverty by 2015 as stipulated by goal one of the millennium development goals”, the report reads.
The 2008 report also indicates that in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, the number of rural poor has continued to rise and will likely exceed the number of urban poor by 2040. It categorizes the world into three distinctive rural worlds: The first world is of agriculture-based countries, the second is transforming countries and the third is the urbanized countries.
The agriculture-based world includes sub-Saharan countries. According to this group of countries, there are 417 million rural inhabitants, 82 percent of which are sub-Saharan population who depend on agriculture. In these countries, agriculture is the major source of growth accounting for 32 percent of their GDP growth on average.
Transforming countries include china, India, Indonesia, morocco, and Romania have more than 2.2 billion rural inhabitants. The report indicates that agriculture is not a major source of GDP growth in these countries accounting to 7 percent of GDP growth but poverty remains overwhelmingly in rural about 82 percent of all poor.
Ninety-two percent of rural population in Asia, 96 percent in East Asia and pacific and 92 percent in the Middle East and North Africa are in transforming category.
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