Africa is ripe for its own industrial revolution, but with 70 percent of Africans dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods, it must be a green one. We have been latecomers with the world's previous waves of industrialization; now we are catching up because necessity and the birth of new technologies are fostering a continent of innovators.
The green agricultural revolution here is well overdue. With more than 874 million hectares of arable land - nearly six times as much as in the United States - Africa has the opportunity to ensure food security for all without repeating the environmental mistakes made by advanced economies.
Statistics in the 2016 United Nations Economic Report on Africa (ERA) show a path to environmentally sound industrialization. Investing in infrastructure so that people can power their homes with greener energy without chopping down trees will be key. With the increased wealth that an agricultural revolution might bring, we need to be conscious of not squandering our natural resources. Therefore, green power and improved livelihoods must go hand in hand. If we adopt a green agenda to improve urbanization, energy developments and population growth, the report says, GDP per capita would more than triple to $14,000 and the number of Africans living on less than $2 a day would nearly halve to 350 million.