Africa’s Brave New World -Sean De Cleene


Africa’s Brave New World -Sean De Cleene


I was listening to one of the local radio stations this morning and they mentioned an interesting fact. They said that a London-based research team has forecasted that in the next 40 to 42 year, Nigeria‘s oil reserves will have dried up. There was an article I read which was written in 2011 that stated that it is forecasted that oil reserves will dry up by 2048 (37 years from 2011). Even if we don’t know when and if oil will dry up for sure, we have to be very conscious of the risk of it drying up.  Oil is the bedrock of Nigeria’s economic development, accounting for more than 80 per cent of its foreign exchange earnings. If oil dries up…what does this mean? Over 80 percent of forex earning disappears without a substitute? I’m of the opinion that agriculture will be one of the major sectors to fill this gap.

According to the World Bank agricultural growth and productivity remains central to poverty reduction, particularly in the poorest countries, where a large share of the population relies on agriculture  and agribusiness for their livelihood. I read an article in Spores Magazine and below is the summary. I really liked it and it gave a very optimistic picture of the future of Agriculture in Africa.

ITW-portrait-sean-de-cleeneSenior vice president of global business development and public affairs for Yara International, a leading fertiliser company based in Norway and member of ‘New Vision for Agriculture’, a public-private initiative of the World Economic Forum which aims to promote market-oriented sustainable agricultural development strategies. © Yara

According to Sean De Cleene

  • Africa has 60% of the world’s uncultivated arable land and therefore has the scope to make a significant contribution to increasing food production globally.
  • The development of new Public Private Partnerships (PPP) for agricultural growth and positive signs of government investment to support agribusinesses, provides a more optimistic outlook for Africa’s agriculture future.
  • Africa has some of the lowest yields in the world and yet by doubling yields which equates to achieving just half the global average Africa would not only be able to feed itself but could have significant exports.
  • There has been so much change in the last couple of years that I’m very optimistic there is a willingness now to really find a solution.
  • In recent years we are seeing Africa start to take control of its own growth agenda, to move away from agriculture as a development programme to agriculture as a business.
  • One of the exciting things we are seeing happening is actors being prepared to work together: international NGOs, local civil society and international businesses ( let’s not forget the next-gen african farmers 🙂 ) actually coming together in new innovative PPP to work on sustainable agricultural development.
  • Partnerships are developing frameworks which can double or triple yields but keep water impact and carbon footprint unchanged.
  • More than half of the African government have signed up to the Maputo Declaration (spending 10% of their gross domestic product on Agric)

These are just a few highlights. You can read the full article using the link below. I thought his interview has some very encouraging words for the next-gen African farmers. Let me know what you think.

Thank you for taking time out to read this post.


  • Terrel Ejem
    June 7, 2013

    Truly insightful stuff! It makes you wonder about our foresight as a nation. Because for some time now, our utter reliance on oil in this country has been of concern to me. I do hope we wake up and smell the coffee before its too late. So I couldn’t agree more with this line of thought. I’m all for oil being our bedrock and all, but what I’d really like to see, is a surge in Agriculture and Agribusiness, which would require a collective effort. Not quite sure the political will is there in this country as of yet.

  • amarachi utah
    June 8, 2013

    …i just randomly stumbled accross this Kofo just trolling for african ag blogs online and I was startled to see your face. I had no idea you were an “afag-head” (as I call we who are committed to ensuring the future of african agriculture and food security)…great job on this post and on the blog in general you have challenged me to get more serious with mine! …responding to this and Terrel’s thoughts above, you should check out which focuses on the future of all things African from regional integration to ICT for ag development and poverty eradication. The hope is that the new Ag Transformation Agenda for Nigeria (which is an implemntation of CAADP as far as I am concerned) will revive the entire ag value chain and bring some of Sean De Cleene’s thoughts to life. There is a great deal of ag potential still in Nigeria and like you I beleive that with the right policies, implemented in a timely and efficient fashion, ag can not only singlehandedly eradicate desparate poverty in Nigeria in the short to medium term but replace fossil fuels in the 10-15 year scenario.

    • Kofo Durosinmi-Etti
      June 8, 2013

      Afag-head…that’s an interesting word :-). Thank you for your kind words, much appreciated. I’m super glad that you will be getting more serious with your blog, there is so much to be shared and more importantly to be done. I’m going to need the link to your blog pls! Will definitely check out the site you have recommended. I’m really glad we are on the same page. Please feel free to share any useful info and it would be nice to get some guest posts from you as well. Stay connected and I look forward to our many conversations


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