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Agribusiness solution to Africa’s youth unemployment—AfDB

African Development Bank (AfDB) has revealed that one of the best sectors that can effectively solve Africa’s current unemployment crisis is mechanized agriculture.

However, the bank said Africa currently needs global support for its young farmers and “agripreneurs”.

This disclosure was made by stakeholders from the Initiative for Global Development, the Association of African Agricultural Professionals in the Diaspora (AAAPD), Michigan State University, Iowa State University, the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, who were brought together by the AfDB to discuss how to expand economic opportunities for Africa’s youth throughout the agricultural value chain.

The session titled “Making Farming Cool: Investing in future African farmers and Agripreneurs” was held on the sideline of the ongoing 2017 World Food Prize Symposium-Borlaug Dialogue in Des Moines, Iowa, and had in attendance young entrepreneurs from Africa, private sector representatives, policymakers and thought leaders.

Currently, Africa has the world’s youngest population with 60% being under 35 years old. There are 420 million youth aged 15-35 and this segment of the population is expected to double to 840 million by 2040.

Working with the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), the African Development Bank is empowering young farmers under the Empowering Novel Agri-Business-Led Employment (ENABLE) Youth program.

President of the bank and Nigeria’s former Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina said “Africa’s next billionaires are not going to come from oil, gas, or the extractives. ENABLE Youth is about investing in small agribusinesses today so that they can grow into large enterprises tomorrow”.

“By empowering youth at each stage of the agribusiness value chain, we enable them to establish viable and profitable agribusinesses, jobs and better incomes for themselves and their communities.”

He explained how attracting a new cadre of young, energetic and talented agripreneurs – who will drive the adoption of new technologies throughout the value chain, raise productivity and meet rising food demands – is an urgent priority.