According to the African Development Bank, AfDB, the food import bill of African continent was $35billion in 2015.
The figure was revealed, on Thursday, April 21 by the Director of Agriculture, AfDB, Chiji Ojukwu, at the ENABLE Youth Programme in African Agriculture.
Describing the figure as unsustainable, he called for urgent steps to address the situation.
“The surprising thing is that most of the commodities imported are those that we have comparative advantage in,” he said.
He said it was worrisome that the continent has failed to tap from its huge youth population to change the trend.
Africa has the highest number of youth in the world. The youth constituted 40 percent of the continent’s working age and, regrettably, 60 percent of the unemployed in the continent.
For instance, in Nigeria, it was estimated that there would be 110 million youth entering the workforce in the next 10 years.
Ojukwu said the failure to tap from the agribusiness opportunity made the country poorer and malnourished.
He said AfDB has set a target to spend $12.5 billion in the next 10 years for African countries to provide, at least, 1.25 million agribusiness enterprises. He said the project has targeted to provide 10,000 employment for graduates for each country with 50 percent of them being women.