Last year, in a Sunday Times article headed "How Africa skipped an industrial milestone", I argued that African economies had leapt too aggressively from being agrarian to being services-led, leaving a gaping employment and growth hole that should have been filled by an investment in building the industry. Agriculture remains a key lever for poverty alleviation, food security and inclusive economic growth; in this column I emphasise the need for targeted interventions to enhance transformative and inclusive agricultural value-chain participation: agro-industrialisation. Agricultural value chains articulate the process in which services and inputs are brought together for the production of an agricultural commodity, then machinery, technology and additional inputs transform and add value to the commodity as it goes further up the industrial process. In addition, value chains provide context and perspective on how businesses interact to form the chain, are important levers for busines...

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