African Development Bank to discuss youth in Agriculture during annual meeting

The African Development Bank (AfDB) is bringing together African heads of state to discuss youth in agriculture at its upcoming annual meetings in India, the Bank said. 

The session will focus on Africa is Cool: Engaging Africa’s Youth and draws from the central theme of the meetings: Transforming Agriculture for Wealth Creation in Africa. The annual meeting will be taking place from May 22-26, 2017.

The agriculture sector holds the potential to create gainful job and wealth creation for Africa’s young people.
Africa is hoping to feed itself and to eradicate malnutrition by 2025 but the average age of farmers on the continent is currently 60 years.

“There are opportunities to empower the youth at each stage of the agricultural value chain as ‘agripreneurs.  Young people are doing new and amazing things in the agricultural space all over the continent but need to be motivated,” says Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank.

To encourage young people to take interest in the sector, the Bank and its partners have also instituted the Agri-Pitch Entrepreneurship competition.   African youth (aged 18–35) are eligible to participate and to pitch their innovations.

A call for business ideas has been launched and the top three (3) competitors will be invited to the meetings to present their proposal and receive an award. In partnership with the African Development Institute, AfDB will send the winners to Korea for a study visit.

“Already, we are seeing some brilliant ideas from Agripreneurs:  for example, promoting remote control mechanisms like GPS or drones to monitor crop health and forecast yields, and developing applications that allow farmers to sell their products at a market price through mobile phones,” says Adesina.

The AfDB President looks forward to the selection of the top three candidates that will emerge from the AgriPitch competition and to welcome them in Hyderabad in India in May 2017.

Working with the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Nigeria, AfDB is also empowering young farmers under The Empowering Novel Agri-Business-Led Employment (ENABLE) youth program. ENABLE has proven that with greater access to the agribusiness enterprise, the youth can be the driving force for the transformation of Africa’s agriculture.

The India meeting will showcase some bright young African Agripreneurs who have proven that with greater access to the agribusiness enterprise, the youth can be the driving force of Africa’s agriculture.

The Bank has so far approved over half a billion dollars to support and enable youth operations in Cameroun, Sudan, Nigeria, in addition to many others.

These developments are a fundamental of the Bank’s Strategy for Agricultural Transformation in Africa, 2016-2025. Agriculture is the second of the Bank’s High 5 priorities – Light up and power Africa, Feed Africa, Industrialize Africa, Integrate Africa, and Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa – a blueprint for the implementation of its Ten Year Strategy 2013-2022

Through these operations, AfDB expects that over 300,000 enterprises and about 1.5 million jobs will be created directly for people both young and old.

“With such promising results, we can safely say that the future of agribusiness and food security in Africa is well in hand,” says Adesina.

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