7-8 JUNE 2017 / Tour & Taxis / Brussels

Youth in agribusiness: Promoting job creation in Africa

Youth in agribusiness: Promoting job creation in Africa

Leveraging Investment and innovations for Africa’s youth and sustainable economic growth

debate
D2
Wednesday, June 7, 2017 - 14:00 to 15:15

Key points

  • Governments need to improve the business climate by, for example, making it easier to start a business, making it easier to access finance and investing in infrastructure such as roads.
     
  • It is important to invest in agriculture, to invest in skills and in vocational ‘on the job’ training.
     
  • Entrepreneurship needs to be encouraged by adding business-related classes in educational systems and via business incubation centres.
     
  • Modern technology needs to be harnessed to make agribusiness more attractive.

Synopsis

Young people could be a significant asset for Africa if they had more opportunities in agriculture and agribusiness.

Governments need to improve the business climate by, for example, making it easier to start a business and access finance, and by investing in roads and other infrastructure. The best way for people to escape poverty is to enter the value chain. One example is a programme run by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where Dutch farmers help agricultural organisations in developing countries create cooperatives.

An earlier conference on boosting youth employment in Africa revealed that around 80 % of people in the continent work in agriculture, hence the need for investment in the sector. The majority of farmers are small holders and so the focus needs to be particularly on access to finance and skill enhancement. Most vocational programmes are not very effective because they assume people have at least primary education, which is not always the case. On-the-job training needs greater focus in these vocational programmes.

In addition, modern technology should be harnessed to make agribusiness more attractive. In Botswana, an entrepreneur with information technology skills has created an application that farmers can access through their mobile phones. Since the Internet is currently too expensive for most people, the application uses Short Message Service (SMS) and Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) technology. Users pay a small fee, and state their name, location and type of crop they are producing and then receive local advice about weather and soil conditions.

The entrepreneur has increased the number of users from 2,000 to 250,000, with about 500 new ones signing up each day. A major factor in this success is that his application has a social element, allowing users to “chat” with each other, and access Wikipedia and their emails. The target is 500,000 users and to add more services, including insurance, crop protection and weather updates, to make the application available on the internet as data processing costs decline, and to expand the service to other countries. Education systems should teach all the skills needed for running a business, such as profit and loss statements and balance sheets.

In Zambia, a Young Emerging Farmers’ Association facilitates access to finance, land, training, markets and technology based on farmers’ needs. Some young farmers are working 50 or 100 hectares of land, but have no title to them and therefore cannot obtain finance. The Association helps them create a business to enable them to raise investment.  

Insight

Governments should create a framework to encourage the private sector to come up with business ideas and develop them.

Organised by

    Leonard Mizzi
    Head of Unit C.1 - Rural development, food security and nutrition
    European Commission - DG for International Cooperation and Development
    Mara Walz
    Board Member
    German National Young Farmer Association
    Thato Mojaboswa Stimela
    Managing Director
    Brastorne Enterprises
    Dalitso Luke Mbewe
    Director
    Tapera Industries
    Alieu Jallow
    EDD Young Leader, Gambia
    Christiaan Rebergen
    Director General for International Cooperation
    Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Netherlands
Photo gallery

Password for download : EDD2017