Youth are the key partners in Africa’s Development. Their potentials must be harnessed for development, and opportunities must be given to them to participate in decision making and actions at all level. Gender equality and women empowerment is a matter of human rights, and a driver of development progress.
With this Gender strategy, African development bank (AFDB) has developed some strategies and the implications for the youth Engagement in agribusiness. Although there have been changes, but those gains have not made significant improvement in the life of ordinary men and women and that is why it is important to reflect on the youth because they are the future, they should be inspired and have livelihood for their future. As we speak for the youth, we also need to look at the bridging gender inequality.
The Africa we know has a strong growth with potentials for transformation, it produce most of the foods we eat, about 2/3 of African Women is employed in the agricultural sector with the highest rates of labor participation and entrepreneur ship, but still, the scarcity of employment is very high. Literacy level of women remains low with no voice in policy and they also lack access to control over productive resources and services. Also, women suffer the burden and stigmatization of HIV/AIDS and other chronic diseases totally forgetting that these diseases are equally contacted from men. Women are also more affected by war, conflict and gender specific violence and violations of reproductive rights.
Can we hope? Can we dream? YES. The vision of Africa that was projected by ADB project is that Africa is a world where financial/economic growth can be utilized to develop infrastructure which will foster agriculture within the youth, develop private sectors and working partnership, revisit labor laws, improve investment of women and full participation in decision making and be given bigger opportunities to pursue their dreams.
For this reason and many more, an online survey was carried out, with several questions targeted at knowing the minds of youths. More than 20 countries were targeted which include mostly African countries. Their strength, weakness, opportunities and Threat were determined.
It is pertinent to know that about 80% of the respondent are already employed in agricultural sector and that the youth are early adopters and risk bearers. They also have great adaptability to new technologies, they learn fast, and are eager to exploit opportunities around them.
The factor which limit most youth in involvement in agriculture is their lack of exposure to rural farming life, most of them grew up in urban area, hence, their attitude to agriculture. Also, most of the youth lack indigenous knowledge about crops and livestock production. Another factor is limited education at primary and secondary levels and lastly, most youths are not fully involved in agricultural policy making and formulation in various countries.
Because the society considers any youth in involved in agriculture as a failure, for this reason most youth tend to run away from farming. Lack of rural infrastructure such as roads, health centers makes agriculture less attractive for them. Another great threat is climate change which creates some uncertainty which makes most youth run from agriculture.Lack of Capital, Lack of Knowledge & skills ,Lack of land ,lack of tools and several others are the major challenges.
There are several opportunities which were identified, these include; access to social networking on internet, existence of mobile phones which enable them to exchange and access information on agriculture, availability of land and water in most countries and the demand for agric-by-products. Youth should leverage on these opportunities in order to achieve food security in Africa.
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Blogpost by Funmilayo Oyesiji, IYA member and a social media reporter for the #YADI14