More than ever, African youth have to overcome a long and hard journey to enter the labour market. Out of 11 million young people entering the job market in Africa every year, only 3 million end up in formal jobs and all do not have quality jobs.
Today, about 420 million African young people are between 15-35 years of age.
According to Edson Mpyisi, Coordinator of Enable Youth Programme at African Development Bank, Agribusiness could provide a remedy to the problem of youth employment.
Mr. Mpyisi was speaking at Ministerial Dialogue of the Conference on Land Policy in Africa. “Agriculture on the continent is expected to be a USD 1 trillion value business by 2030. Whichever sector you are working in, whatever policies and strategies you have, you cannot leave the youth out of this”, he said.
Creating decent jobs of many of youths who failed to get an employment several years after graduation is now a top priority of many governments in Africa.
Mr. Utoni Nujoma, Minister of Land Reform in Namibia said that there is an urgent need to develop clear plans and strategies that promote the participation of young people as pivotal stakeholders, actors and partners in policy making processes and sustainable development of their countries.
“The agriculture sector offers more opportunities for youth”, he highlighted, adding that the government of Namibia recognizes agribusiness and land related activities as important to the youth.
Mr. Nujoma said that Youth must be empowered through opportunities to engage in agribusiness enterprises, calling the private sector to enhance skills development, training and mentorship of youth on the continent.
Sharing the experience of Uganda, Mr. Richard Oput of the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development told the conference that the youth under 30 in Uganda constitutes 77 percent of the population and that 80% of the country’s land is in rural areas.
“It is therefore important our National Land policies address the issue of land governance so that the youth get gainful employment in agriculture sector and other related sectors”.
Mr. Ato Belete Tafere Desta, Head of the National Integrated Land Use Planning and Policy project, under the Prime Minister’s office of Ethiopia stated that over the last 3 decades, his government has put a lot of efforts to mobilize its people in a wide range of programmes and actions. “Incentive mechanisms were developed to accommodate the youth”, he said.
The ministerial dialogue session of the conference concurred that the African youth could change agriculture into agribusiness, a significant sector for Africa's future employment creation.
Photo credit: CIFOR (Flickr)
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