Communiqué: Investing in agriculture and agribusiness to create jobs for Africa’s youth

For immediate release - Abidjan, 29 August 2017

With more than 300 million young Africans due to enter the job market over the next 15 years, there is an urgent need to focus on agriculture as a source, not just of food, but also of employment and economic growth. More than 750 delegates are expected to attend the 2017 African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF), which CTA is supporting through various side events and other activities. The AGRF, that will be held 4-8 September in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, is a major annual event on the African continent’s agriculture and agribusiness agenda. 

CTA will co-organise panels on youth, ICTs and facilitate B2B sessions among small and medium agribusinesses, producer cooperatives and farmers organisations.

At the AGRF, CTA will also host the finals of the West Africa Pitch AgriHack! competition and award ceremony – a contest created to encourage young ICT entrepreneurs to address agriculture-related challenges.

Smallholder farmers, government leaders and heads of financial institutions, agribusinesses and development organisations will participate at various events and discussions at AGRF 2017, whose theme is 'Accelerating Africa's path to prosperity: growing inclusive economies and jobs through agriculture'.

Building on the commitments of more than € 25.3 billion pledged in the wake of last year's AGRF, the 2017 Forum will highlight the critical importance of harnessing renewed support for agriculture and its strong potential for creating decent jobs and driving economic growth across the continent.

As a key partner of AGRF 2017, CTA will be demonstrating how innovations in sustainable agriculture can help to strengthen food security, resilience and inclusive economic growth, especially when young people are involved in shaping the future of the sector through the use of ICTs.

During the event, winners will be chosen from the West Africa Pitch AgriHack! competition, which was launched in June as part of CTA's efforts to help transform the agriculture sector and promote youth employment. Partners include the investment club EIC Corporation and the innovation hubs Suguba and Jokkolabs Abidjan. The contest attracted 130 applications from young e-agripreneurs, whose start-ups offer services and platforms to tackle a whole range of issues currently limiting agriculture and rural development. The 25 finalists, who will receive training during the Forum and have a unique opportunity to interact with business leaders and policy makers, will be asked to pitch their solutions to a jury of development partners and investors with the opportunity to win funding, access investment and receive help in developing and promoting their business.

"CTA is firmly committed to the transformation of agriculture to provide decent jobs for Africa's growing young population and contribute to the African continent's prosperity. The West Africa Pitch AgriHack! competition is a very concrete example of just how to engage smart young people to contribute to agricultural transformation through ICT innovations," said CTA Director Michael Hailu. "We expect that the best start-ups will grow and eventually reach hundreds of thousands of farmers and agribusinesses as well as create job opportunities for many young people."


CTA at AGRF 2017:


For more information, please contact:
Stéphane Gambier, Senior Programme Coordinator, Communications