Chris BishopBy Chris Bishop|June 27, 2022|4 Minutes|In Editor's Desk

Editor’s Desk

We want the kiss of life – not death.

Hope springs eternal in the fertile  fields of Africa this week  for the millions of entrepreneurs growing our food across the continent. A promised renewed trade deal with the European Parliament  could mean more investment in African agriculture  but only if the trading block can do something about the so-called kiss of death.

The good news is this means the deal will now go to the European Commission – the executive of the European Union – with a recommendation that it goes ahead along with a 150 billion Euro investment package for Africa, agreed in February, over the next seven years. It’s not entirely altruistic the European Union is concerned about the growing influence of Russia and China in Africa and hopes these recommendations could counteract this.

The kiss of death for African agriculture came with the Cotonou agreement, signed in 2000, that governs trade deals between the continent and Europe- worth $300 billion in 2021. . Most feel that Cotonou  has created unfair competition for African agriculture, reducing it to a supplier of raw materials; long the curse of Africa that has seen it reap meager rewards from its rich resources.

In particular, subsidized European food – the Europeans love to shelter their inefficient farmers-  can undercut small-scale African farmers like a knife.

The European Parliament is said to be deeply concerned about this because it leaves African nations highly dependent on food imports from Europe.

Then, surely, no better time to change the game. The EC plans to evaluate the impact of new trade deals on African economies before granting them.  It also supports the concept of the African Continental Free Trade Area that could unlock a vast amount of trade and investment.

No better time for all of this too for the entrepreneurs of Africa: they should be in a great position, on top of red fertile soil, as the world looks set to run short of cheap food for the masses. Large parts of the northern hemisphere are building bricks and concrete over their fertile fields and – aside from the subsidized farmers of the European Union – it is tough to be a tiller of the soil.

People laughed at the famous line in the Hollywood movie on mercenaries in Africa – the Dogs of War, with Christopher Walken and Tom Berenger.

“One day we will go to war over rice!” says the deep-voiced middle man in a suit as he intones the growing importance of resources in the politics of Africa.

Forty years on people are no longer laughing. Forget about gold and platinum – you can’t eat them – when it comes to resources that people can’t live without food and water top the list. They are getting scarcer and more valuable by the day as the world’s population grows and arable land shrinks.

This is where Africa can prosper by becoming the food king of the world. Imagine the hard currency, jobs, wealth, and clout that hold for the continent.

For the entrepreneurs of Africa, one of the most important factors in this new deal is that Europe promises to share technology and training with them. Europe struggles to make its own farmers efficient – Billionaire  Tomorrow hopes it has more success with the savvy, hardworking, farmers of Africa.