In the coming year, a variety with an enhanced zinc content was to be worked on.

Of risks and role models

AGRA officials would like to see more of these collaborative efforts. However, Stefan Liebing, Chairman of the German-African Business Association, displayed a more reserved attitude. Especially for German medium-sized businesses, the risks that investments in the African continent entailed were very high. In Nigeria, for example, more than 100 German firms were selling machinery, but investors were needed to invest in factories or other major plants there. In order to convince more than 400,000 businesses holding the potential to invest in Africa that this was really worthwhile, success stories of entrepreneurs were required. Moreover, they needed safeguarding from the risks they would be facing, Liebig noted. Whether and how the investment fund totalling one billion euros announced by German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel in late October 2018 would really be made use of by the small and medium-sized enterprises it was intended for remained to be seen.

Silvia Richter, journalist, Berlin/Germany

The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) was established by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation in 2006.