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Bold Actions are Needed to Transform the Way Africa Produces and Consumes Food

An enormous opportunity for Africa to take back control of its future food security systems lies with the continent’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which provide about 80% of jobs. Sub-Saharan Africa alone is home to 44m micro, small and medium-sized businesses, providing communities and families across multiple countries with prospects, jobs and income. They are also essential players in ensuring food security: just 20% of food production is for the growers. The remaining 80% is mostly marketed and handled through an intricate network of private suppliers. Essential to this growth will be digital payments and digitalised processes, streamlined access to credit and funding, better data and trans-border trading. The vast majority of respondents (89% in Kenya, 81% in West Africa and 73% in Cote d’Ivoire) were also confident that e-commerce too will play a game-changing role. However, for Africa’s food systems to undergo the transformation that is so essential, multiple systemic issues must first be addressed. These are beyond the scope of a single organisation or initiative: until organisations stop working in silos and start collaborating effectively, any efforts to drive transformation will be severely hampered.