According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), up to 60 per cent of the world’s unused or under-used arable land lies in Africa alone, where some 240 million hectares suitable for crop production remain uncultivated. At the same time we are seeing a great rush for land, with a booming middle class shifting to a more meat-based diet. Concerns over food security are bringing new types of investors into the market for large land deals and an increasingly global supply chain is connecting local producers to lucrative export markets. We have never seen such a buoyant market for agricultural assets and the need to expand in Sub-Saharan Africa has not escaped investors.
However, a one-size-fits-all, region-wide approach to agribusiness investment, will fail to unlock Sub-Saharan Africa’s agribusiness potential. Different types of investment will be better suited to particular regulatory, economic and infrastructure environments. As our rankings attest, the size of the agricultural sector alone is no measure for successful investment and operations.
The fact that the top five economies based on the size of the agricultural sector include both Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo, two countries which have experienced significant conflict and instability recently, highlights the need for a more nuanced view of opportunities in the region.
The Linklaters’ Agribusiness Investment Matrix (AIM Africa) seeks to offer solutions to the Sub-Saharan African agribusiness puzzle by identifying overall agribusiness potential in 21 countries. AIM Africa ranks countries according to agribusiness attractiveness, quality of investment, infrastructure, environment, and business and regulation to help investors determine the kinds of opportunities that are financially viable now and in the future.
This report breaks our key findings into the following types of investment opportunities : fertile grounds, reliable harvests, shoots of growth.