A representative team of the African Youth Network for Agricultural Transformation (AYNAT), has today completed their training in agribusiness incubation with the African Agribusiness Incubators Network (AAIN), in preparation for the set up of an incubator in Ghana.
This training which took place at the Accra-based AAIN Secretariat came as a follow-through to the application by the youth group in November 2016 to open an agribusiness incubator that can be operated based on the tested AAIN Model of Agribusiness Incubation.
The joint input of AAIN and the Africa Lead Programme of USAID, a major player in empowering youth through agribusiness and agro-based entrepreneurship built the foundation for the training and put the youth leaders on track to open a value chain incubator in Accra.
Ensuring commitment to sustainable operation
With the growing demand for agribusiness incubators, this package that the AYNAT group received is structured by AAIN as a service of the Incubator of Incubators Centre of Excellence (IICE) to build effective incubators.
The group was therefore taken through the lessons and experiences of the model and the unique approach to financial sustainability for agribusiness incubators by the CEO Dr Alex Ariho and Peter Kuria Githingi the Director for Business and Partnerships Development guided by the AAIN mission of Incubating Incubators for job and wealth creation.
As part of experiential learning, the training, as carried out in each country where it is done, involved a field trip to two incubatees, running successful agro-enterprises supported by AAIN through the African Agribusiness Incubation Fund and member incubators.This enabled the youth to visualise how solutions are channelled through incubated SMEs to create jobs and wealth.
“Across Africa today, the demand for agribusiness incubators is high and we receive multiple applications from governments and private sector to match this with informed investment. The AAIN model which has been tested over more than a decade is at the core of the training. Agribusiness Incubators cannot offer what they do not have so we equip them with the right packages,” – Dr Alex Ariho, AAIN CEO
The training which AAIN is rolling out across Africa has been largely inclusive of women and youth groups, institutions and government agencies that applied for AAIN to build their capacity to successfully implement the model.
“We understand the challenges that fellow youth are facing today. We are however glad that AAIN has offered this service to make sure that we use a tested approach to solving youth challenges through agribusiness incubation using a proven and tested model.”– AYNAT President Edemu Felix Azagbe
The African context for youth unemployment today
As noted in the background paper by Nteranya Sanginga from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) to the Feeding Africa programme that was ran by the African Development Bank (AfDB) in Senegal from 21st to 23rd October 2015, the youth present both current and future hurdles for Africa.
The paper points out that Africa has over 364 million Africans between the ages of 15 to 35 years a number that is expected to double by the year 2045.
Agribusiness incubation is one of many ways to leverage on the skills that the 10 to 12 million new young workers who seek employment every year carry from their informal and formal learning environment as graduates. This component is embedded in the “Earn as You Learn” programme that is a part of the AAIN model aimed at involving students in developing actual enterprises that can thrive in the market and create jobs before the students graduate from school.
In Ghana, where AYNAT is now set to launch an AAIN-validated incubator, the World Bank prediction of a 48% level of youth unemployment presents an opportunity rather than a challenge given the input from the training.
Guzakuza, a women-led member incubator of AAIN was also set up with similar training and has since contributed to refocusing the fortunes for a country where the World Bank cites much higher job inactivity rates for the women at 17% than their male counterparts at 11%.
Why the spotlight remains on the youth
The continued focus on youth participation was also an outstanding call from the 2016 Youth Declaration on Agribusiness Incubation that was co-signed by over 100 youth at the African Agribusiness Conference and Expo on the 5th of October, 2016.
This declaration birthed the Africa Youth in Agribusiness Day that was officially launched by the Her Excellency Rhoda Peace Tumusiime, the African Union Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture as a day to be hosted annually within the conference for the youth.
After the introductory training,this particular group will undergo the validation process, the launch of the incubator and periodic monitoring as well as mentoring to achieve self-sustainability and will join frontline youth in the coming Africa Youth in Agribusiness Day set for Dakar, Senegal from the 4th to the 6th of October 2017.
With this training, AYNAT becomes the most recent leading continental youth group to apply for and undergo training by AAIN for the establishment of a sustainable AAIN-Validated agribusiness incubator in Africa.