Yesterday, after the opening ceremony of the #EnableYouth (agribusiness) conference, I was privileged to co-ordinate the International Press Conference which happened immediately after the opening ceremony of the #EnableYouth conference at Transcorp Hilton in Abuja. The dignitaries who addressed the media were Ministers of Agriculture and Youths from Nigeria, Zambia, Liberia, Cotedvoire, Sudan, Director of Agriculture at AfDB and the Director General of IITA. Journalists from TV, radio, print and online were in their numbers to drill the dignitaries.
One thing is clear from African governments, is that they can no longer turn their eyes away from the pool of jobless youths in Africa. Interestingly, the African Development Bank (AfDB) has thrown her weight on any initiative that will advance the course of vulnerable youths. The idea now is creating jobs for youth through agriculture.
In the next few month, the #EnableYouth Programme will kick off in Nigeria. About 25 other African nations are getting set to also launch theirs. The program in Nigeria is owned by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA). The program will run simultaneously in the 109 Senatorial District. It is for graduate youths. In the next few weeks, the criteria for enrollment will be unveiled and applications will be received.
Already, the AfDB has committed about US$300 million for this programme, government and the private sectors are also throwing their commitment. The youths who would be enrolled in this programme will undergo 12-18 months incubation to acquire in depth agricultural vocational and business skills. Thereafter, they will benefit from starter packs sufficient enough to start up their agricultural businesses so as to employ their jobless youths.
This model by IITA started in 2012 in 3 states in Nigeria and has spread to 10 African countries, and youth employment experts have adjudged it very successful. Now, the FMARD and AFDB are replicating it across Nigeria and Africa.
This two-day conference which will close today is focusing on bringing together modalities, strategies, to achieve successful implementation. The youths who would be beneficiaries are driving the engagement.
If you want follow the conversation, please register for live stream: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/regist…/7611093639956878339 or follow the hash tag #EnableYouth on Twitter.