This was the main commendation out of a seminar hosted by the faculty of Economics and Management alongside the faculty of Agriculture of the National University of Rwanda.
This seminar aimed sharing research findings of two studies: “A Comparative Examination of Agricultural Transformation in Asia and Africa.” and “The Political Economy of Agricultural Transformation in Africa in the eight of the African Union’s Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme.”
The presenters in this seminar focused on how Asia managed to embrace economic transformation due to the development of agricultural sector and how Africa can learn from this economic revolution.
Professor David Henley, Professor of Contemporary Indonesian Studies at University of Leiden, Netherlands and Dr Ahmad Helmy Fuady, Lecturer at the Indonesian Institute of Sciences demonstrated how Southeast Asian countries changed agriculture sector to embrace economic transformation.
The two argued that Southeast Asia has consistently outperformed Sub-Saharan Africa in income growth.
According to different reports, the above mentioned speakers referred to, Southeast Asia has produced spectacular reductions for instance, and Indonesia reduced poverty from 60 % in 1970 to 22 % in 1984. Vietnam, another country of the same region, reduced poverty from 58% in 1993 to 14 % in 2008.
Mr. Colin Poulton, a Research Fellow of the University of London and Managing Editor of the international journal Food Policy urged governments to allocate a remarkable part of the budget to the Agriculture sector.
He stated that Agriculture sector can’t progress in case several African countries allocate less than 10% of the National budget to Agriculture sector.
Some participants in the seminar asserted that one of the major challenges of the development of Agriculture in many countries of Africa is the low level of investment in that sector. Others mentioned political systems and wars among other challenges of agricultural sector development.
According to Prof. Rama Rao, the Dean of the Faculty of Economics and Management, such seminars are very important as they raise awareness of students about challenges of development and their contribution to solutions of those challenges.