02.08.2017

Ensibuuko, a Uganda start-up is helping to modernise banking infrastructure for Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOs) as a means to improve the delivery of financial services to Uganda’s unbanked population. They have developed cloud-based microfinance software, specially designed for financial cooperatives. And then there is Jangolo, an agri-tech company developing solutions to ease the life of farmers and promote their brand and products across Cameroon and abroad.

These are just a few examples of the many ventures run by young entrepreneurs who have identified winning strategies. With this kind of active engagement by young people, the future of agriculture and agribusiness in many African countries looks promising. If the momentum is supported and sustained over the next decade, we will be telling a different story from the one told by the previous generation.
There are a lot of discussions taking place about the role of youth. In Africa it is estimated that three quarters of the population are less than 35 years old. This statistic gives a strong clue as to where the future might lie, and agriculture and agribusiness present a promising opportunity for the youth. But when speaking about the future of youth we should not forget that the young often lack experience in business development, so they may need a space in which to shape their ideas and grow as leaders. By this I mean they need mentorship, leadership and business development training.

The launching of co-working spaces and business incubators is laudable. However, a quick search soon reveals that business incubators are located in capital or major cities. Since we are encouraging young people to go into agriculture and agribusiness and discouraging rural-urban migration in pursuit of non-existent jobs, establishing these important business incubation centres closer to the rural communities in which young farmers and agribusiness entrepreneurs live could prove critical.