On the other hand, there is a general consensus that SSA experiencedduring the 2000s an unprecedented decade of economic growth, Young (2012) describedit as an `African growth miracle’. Despite the progress made in reducingpoverty1 andachieving nutrition objectives, Africa remainsthe least developed region in the world. A significant share of economic growthwas driven by reallocation of the workforce out of agriculture and towards modernsectors of the economy.
However, agriculture still plays a crucial role in mostof the economies of SSA countries. During the 2000s, the efforts to reducepoverty emphasized agricultural and rural development as fundamental players tofoster development in Africa. This culminated in the World Development Reportof 2008 which put agricultural at a centralrole for achieving the Millennium Development Goal. A twofold strategy needs to be addressed in SSA. First, foster themodernization of the agricultural sector to increase the agriculturalproductivity in order to release labor force to other modern sectors of theeconomy. At the same time, this will generate an increase thewellbeing of households involved in farming activities.
In fact, a technological improvement on the farm will help to increase the returns earned from these activities. Second,sustain the structural change. One of the earliest and most central insights ofthe literature on economic development is that development entails structuralchange. The countries that manage to pull out of poverty and get richer arethose that are able to diversify away from agriculture and other traditionalproducts. As labor and other resourcesmove from agriculture into modern economic activities, overall productivityrises and income expand. The speed with which this structural transformationtakes place is the key factor that differentiates successful countries fromunsuccessful ones.
1 The headcount ratio in Africasince 2002 declined by more than a fourth falling to 41% in 2013 (AfricanUnion, 2017)