His Excellency Kabiru Bala, deputy high commissioner - Nigeria, gave the opening address at the African Farming Agroinvestment Summit, which opened in London today
In his address, he recognised the potential of African agriculture across all 54 countries in the continent. He said he learned his lessons in life from "going to school [and] going to the farm."
Mr Bala cited the words of an African Union chairperson who said that Africa "has the potential not only to feed itself and eliminate hunger and food insecurity, it can be a major player in the global food market."
He said this is because of the enormous resources in Africa including land and human capital. He said that factors which need to be considered in achieving these goals of "eradicating poverty and hunger [and attaining] human security and shared prosperity" include the need to boost inter-African trade, rapid industrialisation, economic development and environmental management.
"How can we achieve this? We have all the resources and the human capital [but] funding is missing," Mr Bala told the conference. With the population of Africa predicted to rise to 2bn by 2050 along with growing challenges in feeding people, he asked: "How do we create wealth?".
Mr Kala took the opportunity to highlight the potential of Nigeria, a country of 180mn people. He said that while Nigeria is known for being "rich in oil and in gas", the country is also "rich in agriculture." The drop in the oil price has led to Nigeria seeking to diversify its economy, including the agricultural sector, he said.
He cited the example of the Dangote Group, with the company investing in Nigeria because of a 30 per cent return on investment.
"We guarantee a return of 30 per cent or even more," Mr Bala said.