Youth in agribusiness: Promoting job creation in Africa will be moderated by the European Commission's Leonard Mizzi, Head of Unit for Rural Development, Food Security and Nutrition at DG EuropeAid. He will be joined by a panel of entrepreneurs from the Rwanda Youth Agribusiness Forum, Tapera Bio Industries Zambia, Brastorne Enterprises Botswana, the Gambia Young Entrepreneurs Association and representatives from the Dutch government and German National Young Farmer Association.
African youth are changing agriculture and agribusiness in the continent, and with support in their efforts, they will be a significant asset in Africa's future employment creation. They are bringing fresh business opportunities, skills, technologies and entrepreneurial approaches, while also forming tomorrow's consumer base. When the right opportunities come along, young people have been quick to respond and their ideas have had real impact. CTA is bringing youth entrepreneurs to this year's European Development Days to share successes and demonstrate the potential of investing in African agribusiness.
In Africa, the continent with the youngest population, more than 70% of young people live on US$2 a day or less. Competition is high: every year 10–12 million youth enter the workforce, but only 3.1 million new jobs are available to those entering the job market.
This may sound like bad news, but in fact, it is Africa's hundreds of millions of young people who are building its future and agriculture is the sector that is able to absorb the largest numbers of young job seekers. This is where the great majority of Africans begin their working life.
Making the farm young again
Many dream of moving on to other, more profitable sectors as soon as they are able, but others see opportunities in agribusiness, and organise new activities to create their own vision of entrepreneurship. Youth-related policies and programmes can encourage this innovative orientation towards agriculture by identifying specific interventions to add value in agribusiness.
Investing in empowered youth will strengthen a foundation for agricultural transformation. This includes strengthening business, management and financial skills to upscale agribusiness development. It also means opening opportunities in new markets with added-value.
Christiaan Rebergen, Director General for International Cooperation at Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Netherlands
Dalitso Luke Mbewe, Director, Tapera Bio Industries, Zambia
Martin Stimela, Managing Director, Brastorne Enterprises, Bostwana
Alieu Jallow, Founder of the Gambia Young Entrepreneurs Association, EDD Young Leader
Mara Walz, Board member, German National Young Farmer Association (BDL)
Leonard Mizzi, Head of Unit Rural Development, Food Security, Nutrition, Europeaid, European Commission