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  • Global Development
  • Department of Global Development
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Perspectives in International Development Seminar Series: Spring 2021

Before COVID-19, several African economies were fast growing, with high levels of Foreign Direct investment. Much like the rest of the world, African economies were hit hard by the pandemic due to the global slowdown, fall in commodity prices and lock down measures to control the spread of the virus. While economic recovery is projected, the situation is still dire for African countries, especially as vaccination plans are still unclear. However, this crisis presents some opportunities. Africa today needs a structural transformation. Challenges to structural transformation include: (i) the high cost of logistics, (ii) industrial discipline and low labour productivity, and (iii) enabling environment by local governments for private sector to thrive. The promising potential of agro-processing is particularly pertinent in the context of shorter and resilient value chains as agri-food companies are becoming increasingly involved in raw material procurement. The African Development Bank is supporting major food firms to not only source raw produce from Africa but to process their products on the continent thereby creating employment opportunities.  This seminar explores the role of private sector actors in accelerating Africa’s agriculture transformation.


About the presenter

Atsuko Toda is the Director of the Agriculture Finance & Rural Development department of the African Development Bank (AfDB). She joined the Bank in 2016. Before joining the AfDB she worked with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD); initially working in several countries in South and East Asia including Bangladesh, Nepal, Laos and Vietnam. She did field work in Nepal from 2000-2004, with the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development and later returned to IFAD as Country Manager for Vietnam and Laos and developed projects in rural communities focused on food security and market access. She moved to Africa in 2012 as IFAD’s Country Manager for Nigeria, managing portfolio of investments in rural development building partnerships with private sector food processing to provide market access to farmers.  Atsuko holds a Bachelor Degree in Sociology from the Doshisha University of Kyoto, Japan; a Diploma in Developmental Studies from Cambridge University, Cambridge, United Kingdom; and a Master Degree in Public Administration, with specialization in rural finance, from the International Christian University (ICU), Tokyo, Japan.

About the seminar series

The "Perspectives in International Development Seminar Series" is co-sponsored by the Department of Global Development, the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment, the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, and the School of Integrative Plant Science as part of courses IARD 6960NTRES 6960PLSCS 6960 and AEM 6960. For additional questions, contact course teaching assistant Khusel Avirmed at ta346 [at]

Atuka Toda gives a speech holding microphone and papers

More information about this event.

Contact Information

Khusel Avirmed, Teaching assistant

  • ta346 [at]


Atsuko Toda, Director of the Agriculture Finance & Rural Development department of the African Development Bank


Department of Global Development

Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management

School of Integrative Plant Science

Natural Resources and the Environment

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