The Gates Foundation and Rockefeller Foundation joined forces yesterday to fund the development of a green revolution in Africa (see washingtonpost.com)
The Africa program will begin with a relatively small Gates contribution of $100 million over five years, plus $50 million from Rockefeller, to fund development of more robust disease- and drought-resistant seeds for primary African foodstuffs, enhanced distribution networks for seed and fertilizer, and university-level training for African crop scientists.
The green revolution in Asia in the 1960s and 1970s – building on research started in the 1940s – transformed food production, incomes and kick started the industrialization of Asian economies. That too was the result of an investment by the Rockefeller Foundation, who commissioned Norman Borlaug to work on developing new wheat varieties and managing education campaigns to get the new varieties to farmers. Since 1970, wheat yields in India and Pakistan have grown ten-fold.
If the Rockefeller Foundation and Gates Foundation can repeat that success, it could make a very significant contribution to Africa’s future economic development and industrialisation.