Africa and the Green Revolution – A Global Historical Perspective


Two decades of substantial economic growth in Africa have challenged the deep-seated Afro-pessimism of the 1990s and 2000s and re-invigorated the academic debate on Africa’s ability to grow out of poverty in the 21stcentury. Although the opinions differ widely on how sustainable current African growth trajectories are, there is a widespread consensus that a fundamental agricultural transformation is key to consolidate current and future welfare gains. This study interprets recent signs of agricultural productivity growth from a long term global historical context, arguing that the combination of present-day developments in information and communication technology, transport infrastructure, demographic growth,urbanization and in macro-economic governance form a fundamental break with African history. This break does not offer any guarantees, but it does raise the probability that Africa will complete a green revolution of its own.