Home to nearly half of the world’s usable uncultivated land (202 million hectares), Sub-Saharan Africa is well endowed with agricultural land and other natural resources (Deininger et al. 2011). Yet it has the highest poverty rate in the world, with 47.5 percent of the population living below US$1.25 a day in 2008, notwithstanding robust annual economic growth of 4.7 percent (6 percent excluding South Africa) between 2000 and 2009 (World Bank 2012a). The region’s poor record of development suggests that it has not leveraged its abundant agricultural land and natural resources to generate shared and sustained growth or eradicate poverty. There is a general disconnect between abundant land and development.
July 23, 2013