12:00 pm EDT - 1:30 pm EDT

Past Event

Conflict in Mali and Nigeria: Opportunities and Consequences for Agricultural Development

Thursday, July 24, 2014

12:00 pm - 1:30 pm EDT

The Brookings Institution

1775 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, DC

On Thursday, July 24, the Africa Growth Initiative at the Brookings Institution hosted a private dialogue on the impact of conflict and instability on Mali and Nigeria’s agriculture sectors. Both these countries possess unique potential to increase their agricultural production; however, internal conflict and political strife have significantly hindered efforts to support sectoral development. This event also served as an opportunity to share findings from a recently completed Brookings study on these issues, summarized in the Africa Growth Initiative working paper “The Impact of Conflict and Political Instability on Agricultural Investments in Mali and Nigeria”. This study was completed with the support of Malian and Nigerian political scientists Moussa Djire and Jideofor Adibe, as well as agricultural economists Alpha Kergna and Abigail J. Jirgi.

During the forum, Djire and Adibe presented findings from research on the trajectories of the conflict in Mali and Nigeria, and Kergna and Jirgi discussed the outcomes of farmer surveys they conducted in Mali (in Gao and Timbuktu) and Nigeria (in Borno state). Following these presentations, Brookings visiting fellow John McArthur moderated a discussion between the panelists and the event attendees. Forum participants included representatives from international donors, U.S. government agencies, multilateral institutions, civil society organizations, and implementing organizations with active agricultural development projects in both Mali and Nigeria.

During this discussion, participants weighed a number of the key issues, including the role of technology can play in mitigating the consequences of conflict, and the relationship between agricultural development activities and counter-terrorism efforts. Discussants considered the unique contexts of each country, posing specific questions about Nigeria’s fiscal federation and whether the constitution limits the federal government’s ability to support conflict-affected, northeastern states. Finally, participants reviewed the options for donors in the two countries and how to invest in agricultural activities that the study identified as more resilient to conflict, such as small ruminant cultivation and aquaculture.

Agricultural development remains a key component of the Africa Growth Initiative’s research agenda. The Brookings Institution has accordingly conducted comparable research initiatives, focused on the New Partnership for Africa Development’s Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Program (CAADP) as well as Uganda’s National Agricultural Advisory Services Program, for example. For more information on these initiatives and Brookings research on agricultural development in Africa, please visit the Africa Growth Initiative working papers series and our blog series Africa in Focus.