In my early encounters with both seasoned and newbies in financing for development, documenting and reporting on the outreach and communication, it became obvious that there are huge misunderstandings on both sides of the aisle (donors-investors and recipients)… Specific to sub-Saharan Africa, and to a larger extent other parts in the world, when expectations are not communicated, roles left to assumption, this can jeopardize the “relationship” in such a framework. Whether risks are downplayed or returns overblown, it’s my role to reasonably define key responsibilities of each parties and make sure the Plan forward is well understood and updated as needed.
In today’s sub-Saharan Africa’s investment needs framework, it’s likely that opportunity gap will be affecting lack of performance in areas highly known as much in demand so that local livelihoods depend on. Basic infrastructure in food, agriculture, health and education is being provisioned without much regards to medium and long term impacts or in sync to local private actors’ interests. The lost decades of development in the seventies, being in part assigned to such poor planning cycles from donors’ perspectives.
Due to early stage’ markets in sub-Saharan Africa, investors are often made up of local entrepreneurs, with very few trans-border participation in such business opportunities. Endogenous investors often gain from residual setbacks and unfulfilled demands from donors’ investments. Despite, the African food market expanding with estimates showing that it will be worth US$1 trillion by 2030 up from the current US$300 billion. Key challenges remain to allow optimal transition of their enterprises into thriving businesses.
Recipients representing the bulk 90% of the development aid resources are poised, with little to no preparation, to fulfill the delicate task of producing the grains and harvesting it with help of women and families in a typical smallholders’ farmer settings. On that note, demand for food is also projected to at least double by 2050.
These trends, combined with the continent’s food import bill, estimated at a staggering US$30-50 billion, indicate that an opportunity exists for smallholder farmers, already producing 80% of the food we eat.
At this Juncture, there is obviously no interaction between donor’s perspective, entrepreneurs and beneficiaries. Wherever resource allocation is sought to being made, due to skills scarcity and institutional instability, better outreach and communication need to be conducted for sake of ownership and thus accountability in project deliverables…
Obviously the whole starts from a dialogue… Let’s start the conversation!