Agribusiness in Africa must react to global changes

The world was changing fast and there were significant shifts happening in demographics, economical and political power, as well as the natural environment.

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Agribusiness stood to benefit from these shifts, but only if the implications of these changes were understood.

This was according to the PwC Agribusiness Insights Survey 2014/15 recently released in Franschhoek.

Head of agribusiness at PwC South Africa Frans Weilbach said that this year, for the first time, the survey did not only focus on South Africa, but provided insight into agribusinesses across the sub-Saharan African (SSA) region.

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Apart from providing feedback from CEOs in the agribusiness industry in SSA on strategic issues impacting decision-making in the agribusiness environment the survey also introduced a number of ‘megatrends’ that would shape the future of these businesses.

Weilbach said that the megatrends discussed in the report might be perceived as “far removed from us here in Africa”, but their significance should not be underestimated. “They will define our future and we may do well to pre-empt their impact rather than sit back and wait for the results.”

The first megatrend that the report identified was demographic change. It pointed out that the world population would increase by one billion people by 2025 and that by 2050 about 50% of the world’s population growth would be from Africa.

One of the opportunities that population growth in Africa posed for agribusinesses was the potential to further expand into the continent.

Technological advances, climate change and resource scarcity, as well as accelerating urbanisation were other megatrends.

The report also identified the global shift in economic power as a megatrend, saying that businesses that understood the implications of this megatrend would have a definite edge on their competitors.

By 2030, said the report, China was likely to replace the US as the world’s largest economy and over the next five years, acquisitions of foreign companies by Chinese firms were set to double.