Agricultural Productivity and Policies in Sub-Saharan Africa
We analyze the evolution of Sub-Saharan Africa’s agricultural total factor productivity (TFP) over the past 45 years, looking for evidence of recent changes in growth patterns using an improved nonparametric Malmquist index. Our TFP estimates show a remarkable recovery in the performance of Sub-Saharan Africa’s agriculture between 1984 and 2006 after a long period of poor performance and decline. That recovery is the consequence of improved efficiency in production resulting from changes in the output structure and an adjustment in the use of inputs. Policy interventions, including fiscal, trade and sector specific policies, appear to have played an important role in improving agriculture’s performance. Despite the improved agricultural performance, SSA economies face serious challenges to sustain growth. Among these are the small contribution of technical change to TFP growth in the past, the large tax burden imposed by remaining distortions, and the challenge of population growth.
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