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Implications for employment and skill needs

A growing demand for higher-value agrifood products in Africa, driven in particular by the rapidly emerging urban middle class, will offer opportunities for the local food and beverage processing industry to generate revenue, create jobs and improve access to food on the continent. To be competitive, the industry will require efficient production methods that can generate a reliable supply of high-quality products. Globally, the food industry, particularly in higher-income countries, employ a myriad of technologies to meet these objectives, including power-driven machinery and more recently automation technologies, i.e. computer-controlled production systems. Little is known about the use and impact of these technologies in African agroprocessing. Based on a survey of firms in four African countries (South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria and Ethiopia), this policy brief presents insights on the status of mechanization and automation in Africa’s food and beverage manufacturing sector and how these technologies may affect employment and skill requirements.

The policy brief is based on the study: Baumüller H., Kubik Z. and Getahun T.D. (2023) Mechanization and automation in Africa’s agroprocessing sector: Implications for jobs and skill needs. ZEF Working Paper No. 222