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Fact 9: Global agricultural productivity and global economic development seem to be connected to each other. This observation cannot be found for Sub-Saharan Africa yet.

The majority of Sub-Saharan African countries (blue) are on the lower left side of the Gapminder graph (for a better resolution and the ability to change indicators click www.bit.ly/AyBij1). This section is characterised by a very low productivity (vertical axis) and a low Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita (horizontal axis).

What does this graph tell us? First, harvest in most Sub-Saharan African countries yields less than four tons per hectare. Secondly, rich countries’ productivity is in general much higher than the one from low income countries.

In 2007, only three countries (Kyrgyzstan, Bangladesh, Papua New Guinea) with an income under $2,000 had a maize yield of four tons per hectare or more, whereas only three countries (Bahamas, Japan, Saudi Arabia) with a per capita GDP of $20,000 and above had Maize yields under four tons per hectare.


Graph Explanation: The vertical axis shows the maize yield (in kilogram per hectare) of all available countries around the world, the horizontal axis displays the GDP per capita (inflation adjusted in USD). The size of the circles indicates the number of children per woman, the bigger the circle the more children a woman gives birth to.

Source: http://www.gapminder.org/labs/gapminder-agriculture with data from FAO for maize yield and various other sources for income per person (direct link to this graph www.bit.ly/AyBij1)