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Using agriculture and agribusiness to bring about industrialisation in Africa


A Kenyan maize seller sifts out maize from a bucket to get rid of sand and other impurities. KAREL PRINSLOO/AP/SIPA.

By: Dr. Akinwumi Adesina

No region of the world has ever moved to industrialised economy status without a transformation of the agricultural sector. Agriculture, which contributes 16.2% of the GDP of Africa, and gives some form of employment to over 60% of the population, holds the key to accelerated growth, diversification and job creation for African economies.


Proxy warfare

rsz nigeria proxy

Allies of Iran and Saudi Arabia are fighting it out in Nigeria, with the government repressing the Shia organisation, Islamic Movement in Nigeria, in a move reminiscent of the conflict that radicalised the Boko Haram Islamist militancy.


Lights out: poor governance and Africa's energy crisis

A street vendor sells her wares by the light of a kerosene wick lamp in Lagos, Nigeria Thursday March 1, 2007. Nigeria claims ownership of one of the world's great energy reserves, but corruption and mismanagement leave Africa's oil giant chronically short of electricity. SUNDAY ALAMBA/AP/SIPA.

A street vendor sells her wares by the light of a kerosene wick lamp in Lagos, Nigeria. Nigeria claims ownership of one of the world's great energy reserves, but corruption and mismanagement leave Africa's oil giant chronically short of electricity. SUNDAY ALABAMA/AP/SIPA.

By: Max Bankole Jarrett

Africa is rich in resources and opportunities. In so many fields, however, the continent is yet to hit its stride, often because there is not enough political will to manage resources better and create necessary incentives. Africa's energy crisis is a prime example.


What does Theresa May mean for Africa?

Britain Home Secretary Theresa May officially launches her campaign to become prime minister in Birmingham, England. Photo: Chris Radburn/AP/SIPATheresa May will become the second woman after Margaret Thatcher to hold Britain's highest office when David Cameron formally hands over power to her on Wednesday. Cameron announced that he would step down hours after the country voted to leave the European Union, triggering a leadership contest in his Conservative Party.

May emerged as the winner of that contest on Monday, following the shock resignation of former London mayor Boris Johnson, who had been the face of the campaign to leave the EU. She will parachute into Number 10 Downing Street at one of the most turbulent periods in modern British history.

As the new Prime Minister, May will lead negotiations with the EU to form a new relationship between London and Brussels. After she invokes article 50 of the Lisbon treaty, which begins the formal process to leave the bloc, she will need to balance markets and migration.

Many of Britain's businesses want free access to the single market. But with immigration as the key issue in last month's referendum, the majority of Britons do not want EU citizens to move freely into the country. The tension between those two positions will form the basis of much of the talks.


A steep rise in immigration from Africa and the Middle East, mainly from Eritrea and Syria, was a key development during May's tenure as the UK's home secretary. At a Conservative party conference in October, May gave a speech asserting that immigration is undercutting wages for British workers and new arrivals are not benefiting the economy in any way.

"It certainly suggests that Mrs May is determined to oppose the idea that adaptation to an age of mass migration is a more realistic answer than resisting it," the Guardian newspaper said in an editorial.

She came under fire for missing a target to reign in the flow of non-European migrants to below 100,000 a year. Last year, 330,000 people arrived in Britain.

Her response to greater immigration from Africa was to agree a £200m aid package for Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya and Uganda as well as countries hit by the El Nino drought. “We want to work with African countries, the countries of origin, to ensure people don’t feel the need to make this journey to Europe," May said.

May has also championed greater policing in Libya, from where many African migrants take boats to Europe. "British immigration officials worked [in Libya] with their European and Libyan counterparts to stop illegal immigration from Africa at its source."

But she has been criticised for cracking down on immigration by making it more difficult for people to gain asylum in Britain, even if they are fleeing war.


Trade is another important issue between Britain and Africa. May will need to work with James Duddridge, the UK's minister for Africa, to form dozens of new trade agreements between Britain and African countries as well as their regional blocs. These agreements had previously been struck through the EU.

Duddridge told Radio France International: "The complexities of Africa and crossover of issues probably mean that the UK is going to play a more active role in African security and play a greater role in Africa militarily regardless of whether we remain within the EU or whether we exit.”

Gay rights

May has a complicated relationship with gay rights. After voting to keep a law that bans schools from purposefully promoting homosexuality, May voted to legalise same-sex marriage. But during her time as home secretary, the UK has started to require asylum seekers to prove their sexual orientation to eliminate fraudulent applicants.

A new election?

After Cameron announced his resignation there were widespread calls for a fresh general election. These calls have been ignored by May, who said "there should be no general election until 2020" when she launched her campaign to become leader of the Conservative Party.

Foreign policy

May's lack of foreign policy experience make it hard to predict what her overseas priorities will be after she assumes office. But it is safe to assume that negotiating the UK's new relationship with the EU will take up most of her time.

After the first century, all eyes on the next in Nigeria

The country is still healing from its civil war, 45 years on. Photo©Romano Cagnoni/Getty ImagesA new book by journalist Richard Bourne has spurred debate about Nigeria's past and what the future could hold for the country's exploding population.


Spotlight on Houcine Abassi

Photos© Nicolas Fauquè/CorbisTaking no side politically, this skilled trade union negotiator has become one of the most influential men in Tunisia. His role since the Arab Spring won him and three others this year's Nobel Peace Prize


Last Word: Bailouts and begging in Harare and Athens

Photos© All rights reservedI have been watching developments in Greece with keen interest because the way the Greek bailout was handled reminded me of what Tanzania's former president Julius Nyerere once said at a function in Japan: "it is very expensive to be poor."


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