Ten million young Africans enter the workforce each year, but only three million new job opportunities are created. This has African and European policy-makers quivering in their shiny shoes. But reframed, what an opportunity! This is the most tech-savvy, ambitious, connected and dynamic African generation ever. They bring hustle, innovation, optimism and talent – whilst the rest of the world grows old. How can their potential get fulfilled?
The food economy offers a huge opportunity. Africa imports billions of dollars worth of food each year – when it should be a net exporter. Production is dominated by the elderly, who have stayed on their land whilst young people head to the bright city lights. But what if these trends got reversed? Imagine a cadre of young entrepreneurs bringing innovation and positive disruption all along the value chain. Well, it is already happening. Hello Tractor is the Uber of farm equipment. Terra are making delicious cold-pressed juices. ColdHubs are providing solar-powered cold storage. Africa’s agri-food sector needs its youth, and its youth need the enormous market prospects of the sector. Their small, growing businesses are vital drivers of job creation and inclusive growth.
Last month, a study undertaken by Wasafiri for Yara International and Econet Group was launched at Davos to highlight just this opportunity. The “Generation Africa” report asks how partners might inspire and support more young people to embrace agripreneurship. Helped by the passionate voice of Zimbabwean business icon Strive Masiyiwa, the Davos session was watched 5 million times within a week. Young African’s are hearing the call. Now our shared responsibility is to better support them. Watch this space!