• Sunday, July 14, 2024
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Experts task African leaders on finance, mentorship for agriprenuers


Experts at the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) in Kigali, Rwanda, have charged African leaders on finance and mentorship for agriprenuers to scale up the continent’s agriculture and achieve food security.

“Africa has a short time to create jobs for its fast growing youth population. Governments on the continent must give commitment in terms of investments and provide mentorship for youths to scale up agriculture,” Fred Swaniker, co-founder and Trustee, African Leadership Academy, said.

“Africa has an unusual advantage but it is yet to capture them. The opportunities we have as a continent is how to let the youths think differently about agriculture and move beyond raw material production by making them see opportunities in value addition,” Swaniker said.

He stated that Africa can only attract youths into through a holistic approach that looks at the entire entrepreneurial ecosystem.

He added that ideas, team and capital are important in the entire entrepreneurial ecosystem. “The mixture of ideas, a team and capital brings about entrepreneurship. We need to identify people with innovative ideas and bring venture capital to unlock the vast potentials on the continent.”

With a population 1.2 billion and potential to reach 2.5 billion by 2025— where youths will account for 60 percent the population— experts foresee danger in Africa if nothing is done to stem youth unemployment.

Agriculture is the sector that creates jobs for over 80 percent of the workforce in Africa, but youths have found it less attractive owing to the drudgery involved and the lack of innovation and technology in the sector.

“Employment trends in Africa are not only a problem to Africa but globally. The continent’s labour force growth rate is 3 percent per annum and 60 percent of working poverty youths with a per capital income of $3.10,” Carla Henry, senior technical specialist, International Labour Organisation (ILO) said.

“Africa has to invest in human capital development,” Henry said.

 Similarly, Alex Ariho, CEO, African Agribusiness Incubators Network (AAIN), said, “Our solutions have to start at home and our leaders must start believing in the young people. This has to start at the leadership level if we really want to take agriculture to the next level.

“The response model must be able to speak to each category of youths on the African continent. We need to create assemblies of mentors to nurture the emerging start-ups coming out of the continent agricultural space,” he added.

Josephine Okojie, Kigali