The true size of Africa, the fertile continent

In the fight agains “immappancy”, check out this web site to see the “True size of Africa.

What does this have to do with cross-cultural partnership? Simply this: Accurate geography can help us with our humility.

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment… –Romans 12:3 ESV

“Africa, the fertile continent”

The current news about Africa is focused on the liberation of Libya and the famine in the Horn of Africa. But it could it be—that God’s long-term purpose for Africa might be strategic and important to our collective global welfare?

Roger Thurow wrote an article called: “The Fertile Continent: Africa, Agriculture’s Final Frontier” — published in the November /December 2010 issue of Foreign Affairs magazine. Thurow makes a startling point in his summary:

With one billion people already going hungry and the world’s population rising, global food production must urgently be increased. The countries that managed such surges in the past — Brazil, China, India, the United States — cannot do so again. But Africa can — if it finally uses the seeds, fertilizers, and irrigation methods common everywhere else.

Further on in the article Thurow states,

Likewise, future productivity gains in the grain-belt fields of the former Soviet states and in Brazil, China, and India — once hungry countries that turned into agricultural powerhouses thanks to advances made in the 1960s and 1970s, lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty — depend on continued investment in infrastructure and research. Under some scenarios, water scarcity in China and India could cut wheat and rice production in these countries by 30-50 percent by 2050, even as demand for these grains there is expected to rise by as much over the same period.

Thus, more and more eyes are turning to Africa, agriculture’s final frontier. Africa was largely left out of the green revolution, the postwar movement to push up crop yields in the hungriest parts of the world by promoting the use of new seeds and new farming technology. And so agricultural production on the continent could jump quickly if farmers there simply used existing seed, fertilizer, and irrigation technology. And if more efficient networks were developed to distribute and sell the harvests, boosting agricultural yields in Africa could be a major step toward feeding not just the continent but also the rest of the world.

It seems counter-intuitive, but one day we could be depending on Africa for the world’s food. It is the continent with the greatest upside for food production on the planet. Is this one aspect of what God has in mind as his kingdom transforms Africa’s tribes and nations through the gospel?

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