By the 12th CAADP Partnership Platform in Accra Ghana in April of 2016, the campaign for increased investment in Africa’s youth-led SMEs was in high gear among partner organizations.
Over 100 youth leaders from across Africa later expressed their views in a historical declaration presented at the 2016 Africa Agribusiness Incubation Conference and Expo in the presence of the then African Union Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture.
The Commissioner, HE Rhoda Peace Tumusiime joined the youth in paving a path to fulfilled pledges and calls.
“In signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the African Union, we answered the call from the youth to have AAIN model agribusiness incubation scaled up to reach many more youth on the continent. We also launched the Africa Youth in Agribusiness Day.”– Dr Alex Ariho, CEO of the African Agribusiness Incubators Network (AAIN).
In her remarks to the over 800 participants at the same conference in Accra, HE Tumusiime reechoed the aspirations of the African Union for youth and agribusiness.
“Provision of dependable employment in sectors such as agriculture is captured in the aspirations of the African Union Agenda 2063 as well as the Youth Charter. And the African Union through the Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture in collaboration with implementing partners is working towards the same,” she hinted.
Living up to Youth commitments
As a means of reassuring the youth of a brighter future, the African Union tagged the year 2017 with the theme “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investments in Youth.”
Earlier in the year, AAIN, the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and the African Development Bank convened leading youth Agriprenuers and experts for the first ever African Youth Agriprenuers Forum in Ibadan, Nigeria during the month of April.
“This is an addition to multiple steps taken to enhance job creation for the youth in Africa, including the ENABLE Youth programme aimed at catalyzing the launch of 300,000 agribusinesses and creation of 1.5 million jobs in some 30 African countries over the next five years.”- Edson Mpyisi, Principal Agricultural Economist at African Development Bank in remarks at the forum.
Beyond knowledge sharing
With AAIN joining other AU partners at the 13th CAADP Partnership Platform from 31st May to 2nd June, 2017 in Kampala, Uganda Dr Ariho explains why these platforms are vital.
“Bringing partners and youth together goes beyond sharing of knowledge. Multiple stakeholders reach strategic partnerships for future investment that will change the economy for the better. The same has been done for agribusiness incubation in Africa as a contributor to realizing the CAADP Malabo targets,” he says.
Investing in tomorrow
Among a series of sessions aimed at increasing youth participation and job creation AAIN joined Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD) and the prospective youth network for CAADP in Africa.
As one of the collaborating groups of the CAADP Non-State Actors Coalition, the CAADP Youth Network is a new invention aimed at increasing youth engagement in the CAADP process.
“Africa is working to embrace the demographic dividend and harness the potential of the youth whilst attracting them more to agribusiness. We are therefore set to launch the CAADP Youth Network later this year with the aim of bringing more youth on board in the CAADP process. We are hoping to partner with AAIN to enhance youth access to agribusiness incubation”– Ibrahim Ceesay, CAADP Youth Network and Coordinator of the African Youth Initiative on Climate Change (AYICC).
With the momentum building and more investment attracted by partners, prospects of transforming agribusiness in Africa are placed high, as indicated in the closing remarks by HE Josepha Sacko, the African Union Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture.