Youth Skills Empowerment Key to Africa's Development

Published on 21st June 2016

If the recent Agribusiness and Innovation Trade Fair made possible by the USAID-supported East Africa Trade and Investment Hub, Syngenta, Inter-Region Economic Network and Toyota Kenya Academy is anything to go by, there is hope for proactive youth from Africa. The Fair featured youth from East Africa and Ethiopia aged between 18-35 years who run SMEs or start-ups that address needs arising from various agricultural value chains in their respective countries such as processing, finance, software and apps development, agro-mechanization, packaging and export services. Despite the fact that about 10 and 12 million young Africans enter the workforce each year, only three million formal jobs are created annually. About 2.9 million people migrate out of Africa every year to look for green pastures.

The key objective of the Agribusiness Innovation and Trade Fair is to offer our young innovators an opportunity to scale up agribusiness activities through training initiatives with a view of stimulating enterprises that are investible, sustainable, competitive and ready to play an active role in the larger East African market.  If this is sustained and replicated all over Africa, this would elicit job creation. For Africa, the gains of employment would propel incomes, offer higher standards of living and translate to a 10 per cent to a 20 per cent increase in the continent's GDP. Besides, it would provide better opportunities to thousands of youths who join rebel armies and are manipulated by politicians, as well as save many souls who would otherwise perish in the Mediterranean Sea and the Sahara Desert in search of economic opportunity in Europe.

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