Africa / Geodata / ILRI / Intensification / Interview / Markets / Niger / Pro-Poor Livestock / Project / Tanzania / Uganda

Africa’s livestock sector — good for business, good for the poor — held back by dearth of data

Livestock herding in Niger

Livestock herding in Niger (photo credit: ILRI/Stevie Mann).

The African livestock sector should be booming. Demand for animal-source foods is rising exponentially here. By mid-century, meat and milk consumption on the continent are expected to increase by a whopping 145% and 155%, respectively, over 2005/07 levels. As demand for livestock foods rises, so do the opportunities for Africa’s businesses, governments and many poor livestock farmers and sellers. What’s holding back the sector, says senior World Bank economist Nancy Morgan, is simply a dearth of data on livestock.

Without the data, it’s difficult to invest. If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.

In an interview by CNBC/ABN Digital, Morgan makes the case for collecting the data needed by investors to grab the economic opportunities livestock offer Africa. She says, for example, that while Ethiopia has the largest inventories of animals in Africa, without livestock data, investors don’t know where to invest and governments can’t make policies that support the sector.

Africa is at a crossroads. If investments in the livestock sector aren’t made now, imports of meat and milk will continue to grow and economic opportunities for a lot of poor people in Africa will be missed.

View the 6-minute interview of Nancy Morgan at CNBC Africa/ABN Digital (‘The Closing Bell’): Impact of livestock sector in economic development, 3 May 2013.

Morgan is part of a three-year Livestock Data Innovation in Africa project conducted in Niger, Tanzania and Uganda and sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The project is jointly implemented by the Africa Union-Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR), the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), and the World Bank.

For more information, contact
Nancy Morgan: nancy.morgan [at] fao.org
Derek Baker: d.baker [at] cgiar.org
Ugo Pica-Ciamarra: Ugo.PicaCiamarra [at] fao.org

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