By Akanimo Sampson
Spurred by the projection that Africa’s agribusinesses are pressing ahead to create a market worth $1.00 trillion, around N360 trillion in Nigeria’s local currency, some concerned organisations and institutions are currently considering the agricultural sector as the magic bullet for arresting the zooming youth unemployment in the continent.
Already, on the sidelines of the ongoing seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD7), some agencies of the United Nations and the African Union (AU) have unveiled an initiative aimed at crushing the worrisome youth unemployment in the continent.
Africa is said to have the youngest population in the world, with more than 600 million young people in the labour market.
Together with numerous additional partners, the UN agencies- United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)- and the AU, launched a Flagship Initiative to Accelerate Youth Employment in Agriculture and Agribusiness in the African continent.
Based on the principles of South-South and Triangular Cooperation, the Initiative aims to enhance the business ecosystem by creating more jobs and opportunities for African youth. Its main focus is to provide technical assistance, capacity development and knowledge exchange to youth enterprises by prioritising agricultural value chains.
As such, responsible agricultural investment to develop rural areas and reduce urban-rural disparity through public-private partnerships is fundamental.
FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu said, “hhen we talk about the potential of human capital in Africa, we are particularly referring to young people. African agribusinesses are expected to create a market worth $1.00 trillion by 2030, so agriculture and agribusiness have an invaluable and untapped potential to address the youth unemployment challenge.”
The dissemination of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) can further leverage the capacity of young people to innovate and launch a new business. These technologies connect small farmers to markets, reduce transaction costs and mitigate risks as well as establish new possibilities for education and technical training in remote rural areas.
UNIDO Director General Li Yong emphasized,”Agenda 2063 for Africa aspires to achieve equal prosperity, based on inclusive and sustainable growth, driven by the potential of women and youth in particular. Integrating youth in agriculture and agribusiness is a key priority in the implementation of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).”
Meanwhile, the launch of the FAO-UNIDO Flagship Initiative reflects the global commitments towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and calls for action among its partners to further strengthen collaboration by implementing a blueprint and a platform to forge more partnerships and mobilise resources:
Without any iota of doubt, there is no gainsaying the fact that Africa needs to promote youth employment and self-employment as part of the development momentum