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Facts & Figures

At least 70% of the population in eastern Africa works in agriculture. At least 70% of the population in eastern Africa works in agriculture.

What's the most effective way to reduce poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa? Agriculture dominates all other sectors, whether the comparison is within or between countries.   

Half of the world's extreme poor live in sub-Saharan Africa, that's almost 400 million people. The vast majority live in rural areas and work in agriculture. With a rapidly growing population, the IMF predicts that Sub-Saharan Africa will need to create about 18 million jobs per year until 2035 to absorb the growing workforce. 

The region has the fertile land and water resources available to invest in agriculture, however it also faces important threats like soil erosion, deforestation and destruction of grazing lands. Boosting agriculture in a sustainable way, while ensuring good access to markets for farmers are key aspects to reducing poverty in Africa. These are some facts and figures behind our strategy:




  • Agriculture employs 70% of the population in eastern Africa (Source: ILO)
  • Smallholders manage 80% of the farmland in sub-Saharan Africa (FAO)
  • Agriculture contributes between 27 and 42% of total GDP in the countries where Farm Africa works (Various sources)
  • Growth in agriculture is 2.5 times more effective than any other sector in decreasing poverty (Source: World Bank)




  • Between 1.5°C-2°C temperature rise will contribute to farmers losing 40% to 80% cropland in the 2030s and 2040s (Source: World Bank)
  • Between 2000 and 2012, East Africa lost around 6 million hectares of forest. It's estimated that the region will lose 12 million hectares between 2010 and 2030 if current trends continue (Source: WWF)
  • In the Ethiopian highlands, 1.5 billion tons of topsoil are lost to erosion each year (Source: Springer)




  • Only 1.2% of the world's exports originate from Sub-Saharan Africa (Source: World Bank)
  • The average annual growth rate of African exports since 2010 is 8.5%
  • Intra-African trade currently accounts for 16% of the continent’s total trade
  • Foreign direct investment to the region is still small, but slowly increasing: from $6.7 billion in 2000 to $42 in 2015

(Source: ONE, 'International issues on trade and investment') 


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