Purpose: – The purpose of this paper is to look forward to explore the links between projected rapid rates of agribusiness expansion and Africa's economic growth, equity and spatial development. Design/methodology/approach: – The paper draws inferences from 30 years of agribusiness value chain research in Africa. Findings: – Africa's agribusinesses stand poised for exceptionally rapid growth over the coming 40 years. Because of strong interdependencies between agribusiness and agriculture, productivity growth in agribusiness systems will critically affect Africa's overall economic growth rate, its spatial development patterns and progress toward poverty reduction. But the necessary efficiency gains in agribusiness performance will not appear automatically. They will require substantial private investments, a competitive private sector and heightened public attention in areas where governments have historically proven weak: promoting regional trade, improving town and regional planning, financing scientific research, funding higher education and building commercially viable rural financial systems. Research limitations/implications: – Researchers can help by assembling empirical evidence in these topic areas and by examining value chain models that stimulate private sector investment, accelerate efficiency gains and facilitate access and egress by the poor. Originality/value: – Drawing on 30 years of value chain research in Africa, the paper examines links between agribusiness trajectories and economic growth, equity and spatial development.
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