Africa immensely indebted to farmers, time to pay back, says Benin’s Zinsou

By Musinguzi Blanshe
Posted on Friday, 16 September 2022 11:21

A farmer Boniface Mutize gestures at his soya beans farm in Domboshava, a village in the province of Mashonaland East outside Harare, Zimbabwe, March 21,2022. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

Benin's former Prime Minister Lionel Zinsou describes small and medium-scale farming as Africa’s heartbeat: It has immensely contributed to the continent’s economic development for decades after its independence. As farmers battle with climate change, he says, it's time for African governments to support them by providing agricultural funding.

“We got the continent from colonial powers which was not manageable [or] viable,” Zinsou, an economist and investment banker who served as Benin’s premier from 2015 to 2016, tells The Africa Report on the sideline of the Alliance for a Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) in Kigali, Rwanda. The annual event is organised by Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), a farmer-centred institution that focuses on transforming Africa’s smallholder farming.