Investment in African Ag
The corridor’s infrastructure sounds just as superior—“International highways connect all major agri-zones in (the) corridor to main consumer markets in Dar, Arusha, Nairobi and Lusaka; international port and airport at Dar with direct connections to Middle East, Asia and Europe, second international airport to open in Mbeya; main power grid runs through corridor, with several major hydro projects already in place and potential for agri-based power producers to supply directly to grid.”
Tanzania has described itself like the Garden of Eden for investors, but seeing would be believing. It is no secret that food production suffers in emerging nations because of limited mechanization in farming, poor harvest techniques, inferior storage and poor transportation. Investment in an emerging country means overcoming these problems.
Trade or export is a major driver in decisions by investors. Private investors want return from marketing crops, and government backed investors or Sovereign Wealth Funds are interested in establishing production to supply their home country.
U.S. INTERESTED IN EXPORTS TO AFRICA
The point of view of U.S. agricultural commodity/product organizations is to increase U.S. exports more than encourage investment. The U.S. government is looking for a positive trade balance for the U.S., rather than the African nation.
A trade mission to promote U.S. agricultural trade and investment in sub-Saharan Africa conducted Sept. 16-20, launched the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Sub-Saharan Africa Trade Initiative, which aims to expand U.S. agricultural commercial ties in the region.
Delegates traveled to Mozambique “to learn first-hand about the region’s rapidly evolving market conditions and business environment—information that will enable agribusinesses to develop export strategies for sub-Saharan Africa.”
The mission included 18 U.S. companies and 16 U.S. agricultural commodity trade associations that represented a variety of agricultural products including snack foods, beverages, fruit and nuts, agricultural machinery and more. They met with African buyers from across Sub-Saharan Africa.
“Sub-Saharan Africa’s strong economic outlook, growing middle class and surging demand for consumer-oriented foods creates a promising market for U.S. food and agricultural products. Over the past decade, U.S. agricultural exports to Sub-Saharan Africa increased by more than 200 percent. Last year, bilateral agricultural trade between the United States and Sub-Saharan Africa totaled more than $4.75 billion,” USDA noted.