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The Africa I dream of everyday

I have just been thinking about Africa lately. Our continent is currently at a crossroads, we can either make it or break it. It is becoming apparent to the world that the future of food production and agribusiness is strongly linked to Africa. The continent still has potential to expand area under production and to intensify production through new technologies. The developed countries are well aware of this and seem to be ready to do business with Africa. But where is the deadlock? Why is the puzzle not fitting together?
In addition to the resources advantages of good land, climate and minerals, Africa has another advantage - a burgeoning and most youthful population. While the developed world has to deal with an ageing population, Africa is carrying a 'ticking time bomb' or a demographic dividend for the continent - the youth. If these young men and women do not get jobs or fail to become true value-creating entrepreneurs, the whole continent could just explode! But if they…
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Zimbabwe’s limited fiscal space is constraining agricultural growth and development

Defining fiscal space Fiscal space is defined by the balance between government revenue (i.e. tax), denoted by T and government expenditure, denoted by G, through time. For instance, if G < T, then there is a fiscal surplus, but if G > T, then there is a fiscal deficit. A sustained or perpetual deficit through time results in build-up of annual deficits, leading to an unsustainable high debt. With a high level of debt, the government cannot borrow on the international market, and its ability to finance future deficits, i.e. the fiscal space is limited. 
Zimbabwe currently endures very limited fiscal space since debt distress is undermining the capacity of the country to service its debt obligations. Accumulation of external payment arrears since 2000 (including interest charges) has resulted in public and publicly guaranteed debt reaching 51% of GDP and was projected to reach US$7.2 billion by December 2014 (Chinamasa, 2014).

Fiscal space is constraining agricultural growth The…

The "Open" Secret of African Agricultural Transformation

Over the past three months, I have been in my first semester of Masters training in agricultural and applied economics, and I am yet to optimize the functions of maximizing my blogging passion and maximizing my grades all subject to a time constraint. 

After reading the transcript of a classic interview between the McKinsey Quarterly and Nobel Prize winning economist Robert Solow I thought I should come back to the blogging after a long period of silence and share what I dubbed the "open secret" of African agricultural transformation. You will realize by the end of this blog why I have called it an open secret. But first, let us start with a question:   What really determines the differences in productivity between nations, sectors and firms? Just as background information, Prof Robert Solow is internationally recognized for his contributions to the theory of economic growth and development. In the 1990s he worked with the McKinsey Global Institute  in some sector level stu…

You want to know more about the role of agricultural innovation in creating food security in Africa?

"Agricultural innovation lies at the heart of striking the opportunity lying between agriculture’s demand-side incentives and supply-side constraints. Innovation is a subject of great importance because it stimulates sustainable growth in a highly competitive market"

Hi guys!
The Forum for Agriculture Research in Africa, FARA just launched an essay writing competition for young agriculture academics. I have submitted my essay and our essays are in the public evaluation stage where we need to mobilize many votes through Facebook. If you are on Facebook, please help me win. My essay gives a clear picture why "innovation" should Africa's priority in a dynamically changing world, marred by its challenges but full of its unique opportunities. Regardless of being food insecure and suffering from supply-side constraints, Africa has demand-side incentives for agriculture. It however takes the eyes and guts of innovators to realize the gold lying between these two "…

What distinguishes a good life from a sustainable and bright future

We have entered now the era of Sustainable Development, where the focus is not only on ensuring that people from the most marginalized parts of the world have a good life, but that they also have aa sustainable and bright future.


To help understand how a sustainable and bright future future is different from a merely good life, I thought I should remind our "valucentric" readers about the relationship between economic growth and sustainable economic development. Defining economic development The term development means a change over time, typically involving growth or expansion. According to (Norton, et al., 2006), development is a process with many economic and social dimensions. It is a dynamic process including not only changes in the structure and level of economic activity, but also increased opportunities for individual choice and for improved self-esteem. In the first Human Development Report, UNDP defined development as expanding people’s choices. 
Economic developme…

Zimbabwe Research and Intellectual Expo (RIE) Week, 3rd to the 6th of September 2014, Part 1: All we have is what we have…

Resource efficient and portable small scale rural brooder heating system
This week has been a great week for Zimbabwe’s Sunshine City, Harare. Despite the fairly cold mornings lately, this week we have been warming up ourselves with some “hot” ideas at the Research and Intellectual Expo (RIE) currently underway at the University of Zimbabwe. The RIE is an initiative of Zimbabwe's Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education that seeks to showcase the various innovations taking place in the country's universities and colleges.
I decided to dedicate most of my time strolling through the exhibition stalls, sniffing around for some agricultural innovations, especially those that do not kill the “golden egg goose.” My search today was quite successful as I made a stop at the Midlands University stand and met one inventor showcasing what he calls the “portable brooder heating system.”
The mortality challenge .For most rural African families, commercial breeding of chickens could be a…

The "60 percent" game changers for youth in developing countries and the "golden egg goose": Power Points for the Youth

I have been doing some research on Climate Smart Agriculture and the youth and I thought I should just share a few "power" points today on "why the world needs more climate smarts", like you and me. I have called them the "60 percent" game changers and the "golden egg goose."
The "60 percent" game changers "As the world needs to feed more mouths, it needs to create more jobs; this convergence of events is making agriculture not only an option for youth employment and entrepreneurship, but a very viable one" In my research I bumped into three 60 percent statistics that point to possible game changers for the youth in developing countries. I have summarized them in the phrase above and I call them the three "60 percent" game changers.
Food demand growing by 60 percent First, it is estimated that agricultural production will have to increase by 60 percent by 2050 to satisfy the expected demands for food and feed.
Yout…