Agriculture is a key sector in Burkina Faso: it represents 54% of gross domestic product (GDP), and accounts for 86% of the country’s economy. However, agriculture in Burkina Faso has undergone very little modernisation. At the same time, two out of three jobseekers (66%) are young people under the age of 25. Of those who are employed, three-quarters work in agriculture, but many have few prospects.
The Innovative enterprise development and market linkages for young agripreneurs in Burkina Faso (iDEAL Burkina) project aims to accelerate access to markets for young people in the country and strengthen the development of agricultural entrepreneurship among young people through the use of ICT (Information and Communication Technologies). On the one hand, digital services offered by young entrepreneurs will better serve farmers and agripreneurs. On the other, the use of ICTs will provide a real opportunity for young agripreneurs and farmers in their access to the market.
In short, the iDEAL Burkina project aims to mobilise digital technologies to strengthen agricultural entrepreneurship in Burkina Faso. In addition, it provides a deeper understanding of the performance of information services and the success of digital services applied to the agricultural sector in West Africa.
Devised by various stakeholders from the Burkinabe agricultural and entrepreneurial sectors and based on the iAP model (Intra-generational e-agriculture partnership) developed by the CTA, the iDEAL Burkina project is structured as follows:
The basic idea of the initiative is to put in place a technical and commercial collaboration between young farmers/agripreneurs and young entrepreneurs offering ITC services for agriculture (e-agricultural entrepreneurs), in order to strengthen innovation for agribusiness in Burkina Faso.
In order to bring the strongest possible support to these young people between the ages of 18 and 35, the CTA and the Yam Pukri organisation – an expert in the use of ICT for economic development, including agriculture – which is responsible for implementing the initiative, can also mobilise more experienced e-agricultural service providers, such as Afrique Verte and its SIMAgri or Manobi services. Other organisations and companies are planned to join the ranks of project partners by the second year of implementation.
During these next two years, the iDEAL Burkina project will mobilise agripreneurs in order to provide them with training in office automation, social networks, marketing and ICT uses in agribusiness.
In addition, a Pitch AgriHack Burkina will select the best applications and start-ups, after which between five and ten young e-agricultural entrepreneurs will be offered incubation, immersion internships and participation in agricultural innovation/ICT exhibitions. Finally, the very best will receive support in order to offer their services to young farmers and agricultural entrepreneurs in Burkina Faso.
To ensure better market access and agricultural advice for young farmers/agripreneurs involved in the project, iDEAL Burkina will support access to SIMAgri-style market information services.
Implementation of the iDEAL Burkina initiative is expected to enable both digital enterprises managed by young people and young stakeholders in agriculture to reinforce each other through a synergy of resources: by sharing innovation skills in e-agriculture, by acquiring new skills in the use of ICT in agriculture, and by improving their financial performance.
Overall, 400 young Burkinabe will benefit directly from the iDEAL Burkina initiative, in particular through the use of market information services. On a broader scale, 25,000 professional stakeholders will benefit from the project, including agripreneurs, innovators, agricultural extension workers, but also and above all a revitalised young population.
In the long term, the expected development if ICT services in the agricultural sector should lead to a multitude of new uses: innovative applications, more frequent collaboration between market players, clearly identified challenges between entrepreneurs, agripreneurs and farmers. In addition, iDEAL Burkina also hopes to lead to the creation of new jobs.