02.08.2017

Business incubation centres should not only focus on ICT but also on business skills development and leadership training. We should also think about leadership networks that will enable the young to develop their leadership skills and give them the opportunity to participate in policy dialogue.

Moreover, a lot more consideration should go into giving recognition to those young people who are doing amazing work in rural areas. An award scheme has already begun in the Gambia. The Rural Youth Award, set up by the Gambia chapter of Global Youth Innovation Network (GYIN), aims to “celebrate the success, motivate and inspire rural youth in the value chain, thus supporting them to become self-reliant as value chain investment includes coaching, mentoring, business development advice and asset accumulation for enterprises.” I think this is highly commendable and a great way to go.

We also need a conscious and sustained global campaign on agriculture to enhance the image of the profession. In the past, we have seen successful campaigns on global public health, climate change and sustainable development goals. Agriculture and agribusiness could benefit from such a campaign. There are young and successful entrepreneurs active in this sector right now. In every country we can target the determined and forward-thinking young entrepreneurs who are driving innovations within the agriculture value chain. We also need to recognise and support the work of institutions like the Technical Center for Agriculture and Rural Cooperation (CTA) in their effort and commitment to support the work of young agripreneurs. The CTA has published “An ICT Agripreneurship Guide: A Path to Success for ACP Entrepreneurs”. This handbook is the first of its kind and it is a must-read for young people who aspire to work in the area of ICT4Ag.

Herbert Spencer (1820 –1903) once said: “The great aim of education is not knowledge but action.” The entrepreneurial youth in Africa who have taken action in agriculture and its value chains are paving the way for others to follow.