Press Release by IITA.
Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire / Ibadan, Nigeria– Youth from all over Africa will come together in the first-ever African Youth Agripreneurs (AYA) Forum in Ibadan, Nigeria, on 25-26 April 2017. The forum provides an opportunity for the youth to show their skills, creativity, and innovativeness in agribusiness, and also relate with other youths, development partners, and stakeholders in the sector.
The forum, hosted by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) at its headquarters, is organized by the African Development Bank (AfDB) in collaboration with IITA, the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), the Africa Agribusiness Incubation Network (AAIN) and Africa 2.0. The forum will serve as a platform for aggregating Agripreneurs across Africa and escalating the impact of their activities on agriculture and development in the continent.
The AYA Forum is targeted at over 200 youths in Africa who are active in agribusiness or the agriculture sector or related value chains, promoting their own innovation for increased production and marketing, who are currently members in a youth network or association, possess skills to share and disseminate agribusiness information and knowledge, and also have the potential of being a youth mentor and/or incubate through incubation activities.
The forum comprises a 2-day conference/workshop with thematic discussions and presentations of success stories, an AgriPitch Entrepreneurship Competition and side events including a mentor and incubator training program that will give Agripreneurs an opportunity to demonstrate and showcase the success and business potential of agribusinesses across Africa.
During the agriPitch entrepreneurship competition, participants between the ages of 18-35 will pitch their innovations before their peers after which prizes will be awarded to three categories of winners. The selected winners will be invited to AfDB’s annual meetings in India in May 2017 to present their pitches. The overall winner will be presented with a prize by AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina.
During the forum, the agripreneurs are expected to develop and pitch ideas on innovations in agriculture which could cover information and communication technology (ICT), production, harvesting and processing, marketing, logistics, research, and financial services, among many other topics.
Also during the workshop, there will be plenary presentations by the youth and to the youth, to showcase how they designed solutions addressing the typical challenges facing young people who have ventured into agribusiness.
The forum will give agripreneurs across Africa an opportunity to interact and connect with business and development organizations that could assist in linkages with potential markets as off-takers within and outside Africa.
“IITA will support initiatives that would ensure that the young people in this continent contribute to the transformation of African agriculture through agribusiness and value chain development,” says IITA Director General Nteranya Sanginga.
“The AYA Forum will become a flagship element of AfDB’s key initiative for youth employment in agriculture, the ENABLE Youth Program –Empowering Novel Agri-Business-Led Employment,” comments Chiji Ojukwu, AfDB’s Agriculture and Agro-Industry Director. This 5-year program funded and being championed by AfDB aims to develop the next generation of African entrepreneurs in agriculture. Its overall goal is to contribute to job creation, food security and nutrition, rural income generation, and improved livelihoods for youths in both urban and rural areas.
The AYA Forum will also highlight the collaboration and partnership with key institutions like IITA, AAIN, CTA, and others.