On as an `African growth miracle’. Despite the progress

On the other hand, there is a general consensus that SSA experienced
during the 2000s an unprecedented decade of economic growth, Young (2012) described
it as an `African growth miracle’. Despite the progress made in reducing
poverty1 and
achieving nutrition objectives, Africa remains
the least developed region in the world. A significant share of economic growth
was driven by reallocation of the workforce out of agriculture and towards modern
sectors of the economy. However, agriculture still plays a crucial role in most
of the economies of SSA countries. During the 2000s, the efforts to reduce
poverty emphasized agricultural and rural development as fundamental players to
foster development in Africa. This culminated in the World Development Report
of 2008 which put agricultural at a central
role for achieving the Millennium Development Goal.

A twofold strategy needs to be addressed in SSA. First, foster the
modernization of the agricultural sector to increase the agricultural
productivity in order to release labor force to other modern sectors of the
economy.  At the same time, this will generate an increase the
wellbeing 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 of
the literature on economic development is that development entails structural
change. The countries that manage to pull out of poverty and get richer are
those that are able to diversify away from agriculture and other traditional
products. As labor and other resources
move from agriculture into modern economic activities, overall productivity
rises and income expand. The speed with which this structural transformation
takes place is the key factor that differentiates successful countries from
unsuccessful ones.

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1 The headcount ratio in Africa
since 2002 declined by more than a fourth falling to 41% in 2013 (African
Union, 2017) 


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