Africa must cut reliance on food imports, says Nigerian billionaire
By Richard Adams
10 September 2016
Nigerian media magnate Nyesom Wankanetu, a billionaire, has criticised the development of the continent’s agricultural sector, blaming it for Africa’s “fatal” dependence on commodities in the face of rapid urbanisation, population growth, poverty and unemployment.
Wankanetu who is worth more than $23 billion, said he was committed to an “open and sustainable agricultural sector.”
And, he added, “We must stop being an African continent which imports food and then exports our products.”
“With the current level of urbanisation and population growth, we must have a strong agriculture sector in order to produce the food we need to feed the rapidly growing urban populations,” he said.
“We must have the agriculture industry in order to produce the food we need for ourselves as well as our rapidly growing number of urban consumers and the unemployed,” he added.
Wankanetu was speaking during an interview with BBC World Service’s Africa Eye programme, saying there was much more to be done in Africa’s agricultural sector.
“There is no single solution which will solve all our problems. We need to be creative, innovative and innovative to find the best solutions to our problems. We also need to have agriculture in which agriculture can provide for itself and also provide for its own export,” he added.
Wankanetu also called for the creation of a new agricultural model that will enable the African continent to become the fourth largest exporter.
“If we are going to become the fourth largest exporter of food, we must have agriculture growing. We must not have agriculture becoming a dependency on imported food,” he added.
The Nigerian billionaire, who earlier this month donated $28 million to the Nigerian Medical Services Commission, said he wanted to “open my mind to the possibility of new ideas and concepts when it comes to what we currently have.”