Africa must cut reliance on food imports, says Nigerian billionaire
The world’s second-richest man, Olusegun Obasanjo, has predicted that Africa will be able to reduce its reliance on imports of food in the future.
Obasanjo told Nigeria’s state-owned National Assembly that the continent must begin sourcing its food from indigenous crops and stop importing so many things, including maize, chicken and other goods.
In a keynote address to lawmakers on Wednesday, Obasanjo, 66, said: “We have the ability to be self-sufficient in food production. We don’t need to be importing anything. We can produce food without importing anything.
“We can begin to provide the food that our people need and we can go without the import of goods.”
According to the World Food Programme, some 40 million Africans rely on imported food for their diets, a figure that is likely to have doubled by 2017.
“If we don’t get on track with our food production… the number of people that can’t survive… will increase,” said Obasanjo, as cited by BBC. “Africa isn’t going to become a better place if the number of Africans that can’t survive increases.”
“Africans should know that Africa is on the right path to achieve self-sufficiency,” said the billionaire,
Obasanjo has been a leader in Nigeria’s economic growth and its emergence from years of civil war and the legacy of being underdeveloped by the west.
His father, Nnamdi Azikiwe, was Nigeria’s first democratically elected president, though his tenure was cut short after he was assassinated in 1967 by the military regime, who at the time considered him a symbol of the West.
Ogun Obasanjo, Obasanjo’s brother, is the chairman of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). Obasanjo’s wealth is largely derived from oil exploration. His family was also major investors in multinationals such as Chevron, Union Carbide and Shell.
The Nigerian president, Goodluck Jonathan – Obasanjo’s twin brother, has made efforts to diversify the economy. The NNPC plans to expand the