Global Grain blog


Published January 2018 by Olumide Famakinwa, CEO, Firstling Ltd 


Olumide Famakinwa, CEO, Firstling Ltd

2017 bows out in style and 2018 slowly creeps in. Quite a resilient business year with a lot of positive components surging into 2018. Companies, Countries and Continents have hit the overdrive on their performance and result. Analysis filtering on country A growing by x% while another declined by y%. The developments and declines are being attributed to one major or several reasons, discussions centered around real GDP growth, income growth, commodity prices and economic trends. Yes, this is the most important season for big data and predictive analytics. 

Each country critically reviews performance with past and present results and measures performance against other countries. The most important benchmark for each country is their best achievement (measuring GDP and GNP) attained against other yearly results despite diverse and peculiar circumstances. Every entity’s greatest competition is itself not others and the thrust of each country is to improve on their previous best performance. Africa’s greatest and most formidable competition will always be the countries within Africa.

The present expedition of Africa is the unpretentious reality of one billion prospects, one billion needs, one billion potentials, one billion prospects, one billion projects, one billion markets, one billion jobs ………….to a boundless list of one billion derivatives.

Africa is unarguably the continent with the most diversified base of unexploited resources in the world. The continent clearly needs no formal introduction. Comparable to a house set upon a hill, it cannot be hidden.

According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), FDI inflows into Sub Saharan Africa amounted to US$45.9billion in 2016, marking an 8% decline from previous year. The drop was largely attributed to the impact of lower commodity prices on producing countries in the region. 

Trade figures for 2016 also revealed that a majority of merchandise exports from Sub-Saharan Africa were primary products which accounted for around 78.7% of total exports. Exports of manufactured products accounted for 21.3% of all exports during the same year. The figures for 2017 would be a fringe shift in percentages and trends either positively or negatively. 


UNCTAD figures 2017

UNCTAD figures 2017


A review of the table above strongly indicates that the impact of external shocks is still a central risk factor to Africa’s economies and primarily determines the volume and value of import and export.

It has been estimated that one third of world trade is between two subsidiaries of the same Multinational Corporation. On the flip side, every year between 2015 and 2030, 29million new entrants will join Africa’s labor force (African Economic Outlook 2017).

Africa’s solitary direction to economic stability and growth is hinged on developing domestic growth and expansion within the countries. “The Opportunities Are Next Door” and must be enhanced.

Africa is a major grain importer in terms of the multi-diversity of imported grain products. We import virtually all grains. Grains grown in Africa can be optimally commercialized both to boost domestic and interregional trade. After all, China is the largest producer, consumer and importer of rice in the world. Strategically deploying the right resources in the right place at the right time for the right purpose should be the focus of Africa.


Like every other continent, Africa is in a global race that has no end. Instead, it moves in cycles and seasons.




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