Gates Foundation, Calestous Juma Bet on Huge Progress in African Agriculture

Jan 22, 2015

Coinciding with the conclusion of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, Bill and Melinda Gates talk about their “big bets” for the next 15 years in their Annual Letter this year. Among the questions they ask: How do we feed Africa, and ultimately the world? Their big bet is that Africa will feed itself and will be on the way to helping feed the world by 2030.

Calestous Juma, who heads the Belfer Center’s Agricultural Innovation in Africa project, supported by the Gates Foundation, agrees with the Gates’ bet. In his 2011 book The New Harvest: …read more

Local Start-ups Hold the Key to Transforming Africa's Seed Industry

Sep 2, 2015

“The seed industry in sub-Saharan Africa is informal in nature, with approximately 80% of farmers saving and replanting seeds from year to year. This gives them security of access. But improved varieties — including high-yielding and hybrid crops — will increase productivity and income. To get these seeds into the hands of farmers, a better marketing and distribution system is needed. Local small and medium-sized seed enterprises have a comparative advantage in reaching this underserved market due to their size and market reach.”

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Revolution in Africa

Dec 16, 2016

“Sustaining African agricultural transformation will require national policy approaches which emphasize the need to transition toward sustainable agriculture. More specifically, they will need to pursue strategies that allow for the integration of precision agriculture in existing farming methods. Such policies could focus on six key elements: biological diversity; ecology and emerging technologies; infrastructure; research and training; entrepreneurship and regional trade; and improved governance of agricultural innovation.”

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Education, Research, and Innovation in Africa: Forging Strategic Linkages for Economic Transformation

Feb 8, 2016

Africa is a youthful continent: nearly 41% of its population is under the age of 18. To address the unique challenges of this demographic structure, the African Union (AU) hopes to reposition the continent as a strategic player in the global economy through improved education and application of science and technology in development. The paper proposes the creation of “Innovation Universities” that combine research, teaching, community service and commercialization in their missions and operations. They would depart from the common practice where teaching is carried out in universities that do little research, and where research is done …read more

Rebooting African Economies: The Place of Science and Technology in Society

Aug 10, 2016

“African countries are already at the forefront of harnessing these technologies. For example, Rwanda has set itself the ambitious goal of building the first drone airport in the world. An increasing number of African countries are leveraging drone technology to address a variety of resource mapping, delivery and agricultural services. It is through such efforts that salient basic research challenges are likely to emerge.”

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