Are greenhouse gas emissions a reason to keep Africa starving?

Agricultural revolution in Africa could increase global carbon emissions

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Productivity-boosting agricultural innovations in Africa could lead to an increase in global deforestation rates and carbon emissions, a Purdue University study finds.

Historically, improvements in agricultural technology have conserved land and decreased carbon emissions at the global level: Gaining better yields in one area lessens the need to clear other areas for crops, sidestepping a land conversion process that can significantly raise the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere.

Agricultural advances in Africa, however, could have the reverse effect, increasing globally the amount of undeveloped land converted to cropland and raising greenhouse gas emissions, said Thomas Hertel, a distinguished professor of agricultural economics.

“Increasing productivity in Africa – a carbon-rich region with low agricultural yields – could have negative effects on the environment, especially if agricultural markets are highly integrated,” he said. “This study highlights the importance of understanding the interplay between globalization and the environmental impacts of agricultural technology. They are deeply intertwined.”

Debate surrounds the effects of agricultural innovation on the environment, Hertel noted. Some researchers suggest that increasing the profitability of farming will amplify its negative environmental effects, raising greenhouse gas emissions and accelerating tropical deforestation. Others argue that intensifying agricultural production is better for the environment overall because more land can be spared for nature if the same amount of crops can be produced using less land.

“We set out to determine who was right,” Hertel said. “We discovered that both hypotheses can be valid – it depends on the local circumstances.”

Hertel and fellow researchers Navin Ramankutty and Uris Baldos developed a novel economic framework to analyze the effects of regional improvements in agricultural technology on global rates of land use and carbon emissions. Their analysis showed that historical “green revolutions” in regions such as Latin America and Asia – in which better varieties of cereal grains produced dramatic gains in harvests – helped spare land and diminish carbon emissions compared with an alternative scenario without crop innovations.

The global effects of a green revolution in Africa, however, are less certain, Hertel said.

“If the future global economy remains as fragmented as it has been historically – a world of very distinct agricultural markets – then a green revolution in Africa will lower global carbon emissions,” he said. “But if markets become more integrated, faster agricultural innovation in Africa could raise global carbon emissions in the coming decades.”

In an integrated world markets scenario, the researchers’ analysis showed that ramping up agricultural productivity in Africa over the years 2025-2050 could increase global cropland expansion by 1.8 million hectares (4.4 million acres) and global carbon emissions by 267 million metric tons.

The sharp differences between the global impacts of a prospective African green revolution and those of previous green revolutions can be traced to several factors, Hertel said.

In an African green revolution, the relatively lower yields of African croplands would require more area to be converted to agriculture to make up for the displaced crop production in the rest of the world. The area converted would likely be carbon intensive and have a low emissions efficiency – that is, crop yields would be low relative to the carbon emissions released by converting the land to crops.

But the potential negative effects of an African green revolution will diminish over time, Hertel said. If sustained over several decades, agricultural innovation in Africa would eventually conserve land and decrease carbon emissions, especially if yields improved quickly. The most carbon-rich land, however, should be immediately protected from conversion to cropland, he said.

“We need to prevent regions in Africa that are rich in carbon and biodiversity from being cleared for agriculture to avoid increasing emissions,” he said. “Boosting yields brings many benefits, but increasing global food supplies while minimizing the environmental footprint of agriculture remains a major challenge.”

The paper was published Monday (Sept. 8) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

ABSTRACT

Global Market Integration Increases Likelihood that a Future African Green Revolution Could Increase Crop Land Use and CO2 emissions

Thomas W. Hertel 1; Navin Ramankutty 2; Uris Lantz C. Baldos 1

1 Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University, West Lafayete, Indiana, 47907, USA

2 Department of Geography, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, H3A 0B9, Canada

 

There has been a resurgence of interest in the impacts of agricultural productivity on land use and the environment. At the center of this debate is the assertion that agricultural innovation is land sparing. However, numerous case studies and global empirical studies have found little evidence of higher yields being accompanied by reduced area. We find that these studies overlook two crucial factors: estimation of a true counterfactual scenario and a tendency to adopt a regional, rather than a global, perspective. This paper introduces a general framework for analyzing the impacts of regional and global innovation on long-run crop output, prices, land rents, land use, and associated carbon dioxide emissions. In so doing, it facilitates a reconciliation of the apparently conflicting views of the impacts of agricultural productivity growth on global land use and environmental quality. Our historical analysis demonstrates that the Green Revolution in Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East was unambiguously land and emissions sparing, compared to a counterfactual world without these innovations. In contrast, we find that the environmental impacts of a prospective African Green Revolution are potentially ambiguous. We trace these divergent outcomes to relative differences between the innovating region and the rest of the world in yields, emissions efficiencies, cropland supply response, and intensification potential. Globalization of agriculture raises the potential for adverse environmental consequences. However, if sustained for several decades, an African Green Revolution will eventually become land sparing.

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89 thoughts on “Are greenhouse gas emissions a reason to keep Africa starving?

  1. ‘It depends on local circumstances.’
    Cue 50 years of ‘studies’ for each locality, during which time nothing is allowed to be grown….

    • A man on a mission to save the planet, no matter the cost. It is not enough that he did the study. He also proposes his own solution – having presented no alternatives:
      “The most carbon-rich land, however, should be immediately protected from conversion to cropland, he (Hertel) said.”

      • Who is this “We” in we need to prevent this land from being developed. I believe this dunce actually believes people should be restrained from using their own land by an outside force…..one not even on their continent ! Welcome to the new world order.

  2. Africans have been the “necessary” sacrifice of greens all along. As I said to a green once “how can you tell a starving African he can’t eat today, because you are worried about something which might happen in 50 years?” Or as the political chairman of a Conservative Association once said, its “climate alarmism is closet racism”.

  3. Agenda 21 sticks in my craw. And burns. What’s worse, is that legislation derived from these devious positions is passed, with nary a hint of constituent consent.

  4. As an ecologist, I travelled all over Africa in my early years – I know the soils, the water systems, the extensive subsistence agriculture and the tribal cultures – and now, I know a little about climate change and who are the most vulnerable communities. Of course these studies of carbon emissions are irrelevant cobblers. Climate change in Africa as elsewhere is subject to natural cycles. No amount of ‘mitigation’ will affect the situation in Africa. But what they do not need is ‘integrated’ production (that means production that feeds global markets). These markets drive production systems that pay no heed to ecological factors of water supply (especially ‘fossil’ water reservoirs that cannot be readily replenished), soil fertility, biodiversity – and often left out of the equation – human happiness built on intact communities and culture. Real ‘greens’ (Eric Worrall and Mike Bromley please note) have been involved in trying to safeguard African development – not by preventing it or supporting starvation, but by working there to develop better and more appropriate agricultural systems. Detractors of ‘green’ thinking never seem to look to the downside of their own neo-conservative models of development – massive migration to slum-cities, cultural severence, impacts on biodiversity and long term degradation of soil systems – all for an illusory ‘wealth’ measured in GDP.

    • Interesting Point of view Peter,
      Thanks for sharing. “Time spent in reconnassaince is seldom wasted”

      • I worked in Africa in the 1960s – Nigeria (and later in the late 1990s -several countries) as a geologist and mining engineer. There definitely is an attitude among NGOs that we leave these people with their “human happiness” at being poor. The Pope mentioned this wonderful situation a decade or so ago for Latin America and he didn’t get any applause for it. And don’t let them benefit from mining and other economic development if it appears it might ruin the perpetual safaris for the NGOs like the ones Peter was likely on.
        The ‘happy communities’ tipped me off. Why is it that after spending over $60trillion in aid since independence (50 trillion in a UN report of ~1995) have we seen so little for it? It’s because of NGO junkets and the ephemeral cottage industry, boy scout projects they do to keep the myth alive.
        Also the mention of neo-conservatives and pooh poohing GDP growth identifies Peter Taylor as a part of the monolithic culture and politics that guides their thinking (inculcated by the corrupted biological and social sciences that they were shaped by). If you have been here at WUWT very long, you know this is disingenuous. Most visitors here have been arguing that we should be spending on real environmental problems, clean water, economic development and bringing these much loved-to-death, NGOed people into the fold of world prosperity, instead of sky-is-falling fantasy and hysteria that requires their sacrifice. Why do you think the topic of this thread is talking about real problems that are being ignored by the consensus and their fraternal NGO zealots. Are you saying that everyone who has a concern for the plight of Africans and a desire to lay the truth bear is a neo conservative? Gee, I can only hope that this isn’t true or we are doomed. Conservatives are an endangered species is my fear under the constant propaganda of business is evil.
        Not to end on too negative a note, you too, are at least sceptical of the CO2 control knob and I’m thankful for that. That is a large thing for a modern biologist. All you need now is to transcend what was done to you at university and stick with the biochemistry, zoology, and the like. Ecology is too fraught with political viruses you don’t need to do your job well. Separate the wheat from the chaff in that discipline.

    • Ah yes, those poor child-like Africans: incapable of knowing their own interests without wise people like you to tell them.
      All the world’s great cities were slum-cities once: and when they were, they all grew in population for the same reason as today’s slum cities do. Life as a dirt-poor subsistence farmer is unremittingly hard, short, and hopeless.
      You may believe that “cultural severance” is worse than watching your child dying of some disease of poverty, but most people (African or otherwise) would not agree with you. Though you wouldn’t know it if you listen to green propaganda, these very poor people are human beings just like those of us who are so much more fortunate. What arrogance, to suggest that we should ban them aspiring even to a fraction of what we have, just because some of us think they know better!

      • @Gary P
        Well said, though it was 60 Bn not trillion but that’s a quibble.
        Having spent 30 years in Africa I hear you. It is interesting how outsiders are filled with solutions Africans will implement to save the world from the actions of outsiders. 60% of food produced in Africa doesn’t make it to the table. It is not so much a need to grow more it is about using more of what is produced.
        Also helpful: stop dumping Agric exports, stop paying slave wages in industries like garments and shoes, and stop ripping off the resources with bribery. Sequestering carbon is about the last thing on anyone’s mind. Quite right too.

    • “Climate change in Africa as elsewhere is subject to natural cycles.”
      Then it’s not climate change, just normal variability of weather.

    • You have no idea about the cultural differences between say a Sierria Leonian an Ethiopian, a Kenyan, a Zimbabwean, a Ghanan or a Botswanian…

      • Patrick,
        You have no idea the expressions of astonishment when I explain to friends in my (black-dominated) church that the variations in cultures and even racial types (that’s clumsy) is as diverse if not more so than in Europe. Many still refer to Africa as the “mother COUNTRY.” Ah me.
        BTW Upper Volta and Gabon: Sahel to Tropics for four years.

  5. Climate science = an excuse for rich Western people with guaranteed monthly paychecks and pensions to interfere in developing countries whose people have to make a living day to day from their own efforts.
    No wonder Africa is turning more and more to China for investment.

    • Indeed. If there was a conspiracy to force the poor of the world to remain poor so that the the rich of the world remain rich, it would not look much different than the politics of “climate change”.

    • Africa is NOT turning to China for investment. It is being taken over BY the Chinese with totalk exclusion of the local workforce.

  6. Save the planet … commit genocide … now just pretty up the justification and the actions and no one will ever know, not even the victims.

    • Just one point about preventing people from farming their OWN LAND. They will farm it anyway and if you prevent them from getting coal fired power stations they will ACCELERATE deforestation. I have seen deforestation on my OWN LAND via wood thieves. See Haiti from satellite compared to its neighbours. Stop the meddling and let people determine what they do on THEIR OWN LAND.

  7. The arrogance and hypocrisy are breathtaking.
    “We need to prevent regions in Africa that are rich in carbon and biodiversity from being cleared for agriculture to avoid increasing emissions“.
    So these unfortunate people are to be prevented from using their best land for agriculture. So more land will have to be cleared, more fertiliser will have to be used, more expense will be incurred, more sheer hard work will be needed, more time will be wasted, all in the face of relentless, merciless, well-funded green opposition and obstruction, purely so that they don’t add 0.00000000135% to global annual CO2 emissions while just one country in another continent is increasing its emission of CO2 by a greater amount each day from a large stream of new coal and gas plants and is not even criticised simply because it also manufactures a few solar panels.

  8. Yet again, the fundamental question. How do we actually know increased emissions will cause an issue, they are tiny in comparison with Nature’s output, the numbers show it, & twice a very small number, is a very small number, & so far, Nature is NOT playing ball with the GCMs, which therefore by default, must be flawed!

  9. Global Dumbing is really REALLY the problem we’re all facing.
    No amount of “Agricultural Innovation” is going to get over the problem that the soils of Africa (and indeed anywhere at less than 40 degrees of latitude) are exhausted. This has happened over the last few millions of years as plants grew, died, decomposed, were recycled etc but all the time, the vital trace elements and nutrients in the rock fraction of the soil leached away into the world’s oceans.
    Places higher than 40 degrees were regularly glaciated and the ice sheets worked to remove the old tired souls, grind up some new rock and leave it in place of the old. (Volcanoes are great things in this respect also – I really do urge any gardening types amongst us to find some ‘Rock Dust’ from their garden store/centre wherever, spread it around and see what it does. You will be gobsmacked)
    In the technical vernacular, the soils are ‘weathered’, they cannot support much in the way of vegetation. There is nothing there for plants, even though they only need tiny amounts. Why, oh why, don’t these people know or realise this?
    If we really do want to get windmills and sunshine panels to do something useful, set them off grinding up rock taken off the top, bottom or middle of any nearby mountain and spread the stuff across the land and simply let nature take its course.
    That’s how to green a desert, first make it black (dark grey would probably suffice)

  10. It is incredible to witness isnt it.
    I wonder if these people ever actually do think things along the lines of “its only brown people” or “theres enough africans in africa” or “the world is overpopulated, less is good”
    This is horrible, and adds to the green deathtoll. How can these people say stuff like this in public without being lynched by the usual racism screaming liberal leftists?

  11. Guys, please stay cool. The paper is predominantly on land use change. Also looking at CO2 emissions helped finance it. The acknowledgments read:
    T.W.H. acknowledges support from the US Department of Energy Office of Science Integrated Assessment Modeling Program Grant DE-SC005171.
    So they had to do this. The problem is that in this way the climate change aspect is forced upon all kinds of otherwise reasonable research. This climate fad has become the biggest grant cash cow in science history, and at the same time the dumbest scientific platitude.

    • Those scientists who believe this are too ignorant to be considered “scientists”. Those that don’t believe, but take the cash are too dishonest to be considered as same. What do we call them? Believers is my choice.

  12. No one is saying to keep Africa starving .. the point is that rich countries may need to reduce emissions more. to meet global development goals.

    • Barry
      September 9, 2014 at 5:20 am
      No one is saying to keep Africa starving .. the point is that rich countries may need to reduce emissions more. to meet global development goals.
      ————————————————————————————————————————————————-
      Really Barry ?! Is that the point ? Is it really ?

    • On the contrary: all the green rhetoric about “carrying capacity” is precisely about keeping Africa starving and keeping Africans as dirt-poor subsistence farmers. It’s also about the rest of the world being reduced to that level too – apart from the green priesthood, of course.

    • @Barry…
      No-one has proven that CO2 is or has caused global warming.
      The UN IPCC’s claim is a political agenda with no proof.
      Since when can a gas[CO2] in an open system act like a solid [blanket] and “trap” heat?
      Gasses expand when heated and rise. Don’t they???

    • I guess Barry has not been to Africa, and how people can, need and do fight for food. Yes, really they do (I have seen it). Does not happen too often wherever it is you are from however I’d imagine.

  13. straight to the, might, may, could , bin i am afraid-
    “COULD Increase Crop Land Use and CO2 emissions”

  14. How’s that for progressive program?
    Let them do without.
    Without energy
    Without electricity
    Without healthy food
    Without clean water
    Without sanitary systems
    Without refrigeration
    Without safe medicines
    Without…in general

    They truly hate the poor folks of color…or maybe it’s just the poor.
    Maybe they’re right because the poor are the biggest polluters.
    They’re the biggest carriers of diseases.
    They’ll do too much damage the the climate if they continue to breathe.
    I guess the greens all agree the poor already live too long and don’t suffer enough.

  15. The model may be missing a component: As we switch away from oil we will likely consume more biofuels. The land used in Africa will make land elsewhere available to grow sugar cane for ethanol and similar crops. The key is to avoid using corn ethanol, which is quite impractical. Sugar cane is fine.

    • off oil to biofuels ? really ? in what, 200 years time ? wow … I predict we will still be using gasoline as fuel in 200 years …

  16. Even the noble schemes are insidious. Take “free trade” crops. Sounds great unless you are the farmer. The rules prevent a farmer from improving his lot by buying a tractor–it is only for small farmers. And most of the extra $ actually goes to middlemen.
    Africa needs roads, railroads, and electricity. Without roads you can’t get your crops to market and can’t get a fair price for them. Western governments and NGOs try to prevent these 3 things from happening. Coal fired power plants are no longer supported by the World Bank for example, due to climate change. Criminal. And the poor are thrown off their land when it is set aside for carbon credits.

  17. Lets keep a green boot firmly on the heads of these carboniggas, these CO2Ns, with their dangerous fossil fuel industry-funded agenda of escaping from poverty. All for mother earth! (A very white mother earth.)
    /sarc off

  18. Ah typical. Lefty loves the poor so much he wants to make sure they are always around. Down right evil.

  19. Agricultural advances in Africa, however, could have the reverse effect, increasing globally the amount of undeveloped land converted to cropland and raising greenhouse gas emissions, said Thomas Hertel, a distinguished professor of agricultural economics.
    Distinguished maybe but wrong. We are told 3 posts ago that converting forest to cropland is carbon neutral, due to the effects on albedo and release of volatile organic aerosols.
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/09/08/study-conversion-of-forests-to-cropland-cooled-the-climate/

    • There have been advances in farmin practices, esp since after Live Aid in 1986. The money raised is still working and farmers can reap more than one harvest. Ethiopia, as one example, is very fertile…just as with much of Africa, corrupt!

    • Upvote. This was exactly my thought reading these two posts back to back. My second was, “What about the consensus?”

  20. This is why I draw a parallel between the Alarmed Ones and Eugenics.
    To a man, the concern is not global warming, climate change, disruption whatever, it is TOO MANY People.
    And more specifically too many poor brown people.
    The longer the CAGW scam goes on, the more apparent that it is just another vehicle for our racists.
    I always did prefer the open racists, at least I know where they stand.
    These sneaky, spineless world savers, deserve to be made to practise what they proscribe.

    • Winston Chruchill was a strong eugenics supporter. He was even a supporter of the feeble minded persons act of 1912. Fortunately, the bill never passed.

  21. “Are greenhouse gas emissions a reason to keep Africa starving?”
    Of course, silly. It’s not like they’re white Western lefty kool-aid drinkers or anything.
    /do I really need to?

  22. It isn’t only the populations of Africa that these people want to reduce. It’s been announced that the US and UK will be sending troops to Africa to help contain Ebola. Those troops will be exposed to the virus and sent home at some point. Will quarantine procedures be up to the task?

  23. Africa will starve essentially forever. No matter what the West will do. You only need primitive tools and primitive know-how to do primitive farming. To do otherwise is not within reach for an other millennium. It is not my wish but my judgement.

    • George Steiner
      See my comments and references below which says you have had your eyes off the prize. Do you wish to RE-STATE your wrong position? You could not be more wrong about “Africa will starve essentially forever.” The evidence so far says your forever is perhaps 5 years. You are entitled to your opinions, but not the facts.

    • Here is just one of my many references below. Does this look like starving forever? Just like global warming people made the mistake of thinking that things don’t change. The climate changes and so do economies and politics. The cold war is over!!!! Dictators are no longer tolerated as much as before. The mobile phone revolution is being felt. Be sceptical about what you see or read in the Daily Bugle. Bad news sells.

      IEEE – 6 Jun 2013
      Africa: Continent of Plenty
      Ten reasons why Africa can feed itself
      —and help feed the rest of the world too
      ……Some readers may find that statement incredible. And indeed the haunting images of starving Africans are so ingrained in our collective psyche that many people still cling to the notion that Africa can’t feed itself—and maybe never will.
      That conclusion, however familiar, is wrong. Fewer Africans face famine now than at any time since the world began counting……..
      ….. in Uganda in East Africa and in the 15 countries of West Africa, food production now outpaces population growth. In Ghana, for instance, farm output has jumped by 5 percent every year for the past 20 years, which helps explain why the poverty rate there has fallen by half. Even infamously food-insecure Malawi and Ethiopia now grow record amounts of crops and even export surpluses to their neighbors.
      The mounting evidence of this historic reversal is impossible to ignore. Against the new reality, international food agencies that spent decades proclaiming Africa’s inevitable doom are being forced to shift their rhetoric…….
      For the first time in a half century, farming in Africa, particularly in the sub-Sahara, is booming……… 10 sub-Saharan countries are posting annual output increases of 6 percent, more than twice the rate of population growth. [image page]
      G. Pascal Zachary – Arizona State University.

  24. I gaurantee you, having seen it firsthand, no-one hungry and poor in Africa is going to worry about CO2 emissions. Nope! Not one bit! Most won’t even know what CO2 is nor the “climate change” scare. Make enough people hungy and deperate (French “revolution”), we might see something happen. It’s not a question of if but when. How many bullets do we have or can make? On the borders of Ethiopia and Kenya there are camps with 2 million+ refugees. Many other border camps exist in Africa, some with “residents” who have been in the camp for 20 years or more. Kenya has just closed the border to non-residents arriving by air. Kenya is a major transport hub in Africa.

    • Patrick, English and the UN. Also I’ve spent my time in Africa, had a small business in Kenya and spent time in TNZ. Also was involved in establishing a business in Nigeria.
      One of the main problems in Africa is that every do-gooder lefty NGO wants to fix it and control it with their non functional concepts and grant monies. African’s are moving out of poverty but not with the help of these groups. African’s are doing it on their own. They have everything they need to be successful and are going to be a great nation weather the left likes it or not….The left will try to keep them in poverty but will fail.
      Cheap energy, capitalism, free markets and internal governments will/are empowering Africans. White people are not the issue or is it the Chinese or Indians who are there. It’s the ideologies of global warming, anti GM crops, no DDT, etc…that are really hurting Africans right now. They need to do what China, Mexico, India and others have done and that is close your doors to the UN, NGO’s and other hanger-on’s and keep them out of your business.

      • Man, we need to keep them out of our business,too. I’m heartened that some countries have done this.

      • Well said. Problem is the Chinese are exploring in the rift valley (There are massive resurces there). And they will NOT employ locals. I also know former UN employees who left the UN because the money received was spent on whiskey and other BS. And I kid you not! Money given from poor poeple in rich countries make rich people in poor countries, richer!

  25. Interesting there’s no mention of the northward advance of the Sahel into the southern Sahara as plants respond to increasing atmospheric CO2, marginally warmer temps and more rain by reclaiming arid areas and producing more biomass. Also, no mention of steadily increasing domestic crop yields worldwide as corn, wheat, rice, etc respond to the same free plant foods. What we need is more CO2 not less!

  26. The problem in Africa is weeds. Weeds must be cleared by women with hoes in order to plant crops, and then must be removed by women during the growing season. Young people do not want to live like that and are moving away to the cities, understandably. Inexpensive, effective herbicides would free the women and allow farmers to own and farm more than one hectare of land.
    Leonard Gianessi presents his work with African farmers, and how much difference it makes for women who are freed from weeding.
    Begin 1:36

    Atrazine and paraquat are inexpensive and effective, and have been in safe use for decades. This is not really a “green revolution” – it just means at the very least stop heartlessly blocking the use of herbicides, and stop terrifying people with bad science.

  27. Actually the perennial NGOs and gov aid departments have the same problem that the CAGW people have. If they let go of their schtick, then there is no need for grants and the employment numbers are staggering. This is why NGOs harass mining and other real economic development. They know it is a quick way to end the safari they are on and they are not fit for any other job. Good old self interest and they hate the corporate world!

  28. What could all the worry be about?

    McKinsey & Company2010
    What’s driving Africa’s growth
    The rate of return on foreign investment is higher in Africa than in any other developing region. Global executives and investors must pay heed.
    June 2010 | byAcha Leke, Susan Lund, Charles Roxburgh, and Arend van Wamelen
    Africa’s economic pulse has quickened, infusing the continent with a new commercial vibrancy. Real GDP rose by 4.9 percent a year from 2000 through 2008, more than twice its pace in the 1980s and ’90s. Telecommunications, banking, and retailing are flourishing. Construction is booming. Private-investment inflows are surging.
    ——————————-
    The Economist online – Jan 6th 2011
    “Africa is now one of the world’s fastest-growing regions
    But an analysis by The Economist finds that over the ten years to 2010, six of the world’s ten fastest-growing economies were in sub-Saharan Africa.”
    http://www.economist.com/blogs/dailychart/2011/01/daily_chart
    ——————————-
    Economist – 1 May 2013
    Growth and other good things
    THERE is no shortage of economic growth in Africa. Six of the world’s ten fastest growing economies of the past decade are in sub-Saharan Africa….
    ——————————-
    Economist – 2 Nov 2013
    Many of Africa’s fastest-growing economies have not relied on oil or mining
    …..Since the mid-1990s the economy of sub-Saharan Africa has grown by an average of 5% a year……
    …..A study published this week by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) finds that eight of the 12 fastest-growing economies in Africa in recent years did not rely on natural resources……
    …..Why did the six economies grow so fast? Stable and purposeful policy-making helped. All six countries took steps in the 1990s to control public finances and curb inflation……
    …..Progress was not restricted to economic policy. The six countries in the IMF study are far better governed than they were in the mid-1990s. Based on indicators compiled by the World Bank, they are less corrupt, have better bureaucrats, enjoy more stable politics and are better regulated than their African peers……
    The climate for private business is also much improved. Price controls and state-backed monopolies have been swept away……
    …..They are still a long way short of their potential. There are big gaps in their infrastructure. Poor roads hold up trade. Power shortages are a bar to manufacturing. Development is uneven. The bulk of the population still scrape a living in agriculture……

  29. What could all the worry be about?

    IEEE – 6 Jun 2013
    Africa: Continent of Plenty
    Ten reasons why Africa can feed itself
    —and help feed the rest of the world too
    ……Some readers may find that statement incredible. And indeed the haunting images of starving Africans are so ingrained in our collective psyche that many people still cling to the notion that Africa can’t feed itself—and maybe never will.
    That conclusion, however familiar, is wrong. Fewer Africans face famine now than at any time since the world began counting……..
    ….. in Uganda in East Africa and in the 15 countries of West Africa, food production now outpaces population growth. In Ghana, for instance, farm output has jumped by 5 percent every year for the past 20 years, which helps explain why the poverty rate there has fallen by half. Even infamously food-insecure Malawi and Ethiopia now grow record amounts of crops and even export surpluses to their neighbors.
    The mounting evidence of this historic reversal is impossible to ignore. Against the new reality, international food agencies that spent decades proclaiming Africa’s inevitable doom are being forced to shift their rhetoric…….
    For the first time in a half century, farming in Africa, particularly in the sub-Sahara, is booming……… 10 sub-Saharan countries are posting annual output increases of 6 percent, more than twice the rate of population growth. [image page]
    G. Pascal Zachary – Arizona State University.
    ——————————-
    GRID-Arendal / UNEP – 22 Feb 2012
    Current and potential arable land use in Africa Year: 2006
    Description:
    Out of the total land area in Africa, only a fraction is used for arable land. Using soil, land cover and climatic characteristics a FAO study has estimated the potential land area for rainfed crops, excluding built up areas and forests – neither of which would be available for agriculture. According to the study, the potential – if realised – would mean an increase ranging from 150 – 700% percent per region, with a total potential for the whole of Africa in 300 million hectares. Note that the actual arable land in 2003 is higher than the potential in a few countries, like Egypt, due to irrigation.
    Hugo Ahlenius, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
    ———————————
    World Bank – 4 March 2013
    A new World Bank report “Growing Africa: Unlocking the Potential of Agribusiness,” says that Africa’s farmers and agribusinesses could create a trillion-dollar food market by 2030 if they can expand their access to more capital, electricity, better technology and irrigated land to grow high-value nutritious foods……
    ….Untapped land and water: Africa has more than half of the world’s fertile yet unused land…..
    ———————————
    “Africa has 45 percent of the land suitable for sustainable agricultural expansion, meaning it isn’t protected or forested and has a low population density, according to the World Bank. ”
    http://www.businessweek.com/news/2013-09-12/deere-lures-africa-s-first-time-buyers-of-tractors-commodities

  30. What could the greens be worried about? Agenda 21 has its eyes on the prize. Keep your eyes on the thimble. It’s a funny old game.

    WSJ – 16 April 2014
    Africa Is Refuting the Usual Economic Pessimism
    Even as Nigeria battles Islamist terrorism, this remarkably entrepreneurial nation is racing ahead.
    ……For too long, a self-serving alliance of Western aid groups, politicians and journalists presented sub-Saharan Africa as a dangerously failed place in need of outside salvation. They offered only corrosive images of conflict, poverty and disease, leaving tourists scared to visit and making fearful businesses slow to engage. The real story is rather different: It includes the stuttering spread of democracy, impressive economic growth and a continent that now has more people who are overweight than go to bed hungry each night………
    Goldman Sachs GS +0.23% predicts that Nigeria’s economy will be bigger than Canada’s or Italy’s by 2050—and not far behind Germany’s. And this is just one of 54 countries on a large continent that is home to six of the world’s 10 fastest-growing economies and the youngest population on the planet.
    http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303603904579492100427297122

  31. Wait, what? Why would a green revolution in African agriculture result in “displaced crop production in the rest of the world”. I can see that their conclusions follow from that assumption but I can see no justification for that assumption. If low-yield regions of Africa can become slightly higher-yield areas, that’s not going to cause farmers in other parts of the world where the yields are higher yet to stop planting their fields.

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