By Alexis Prather
Unemployment is a daily reality in the lives of millions of young people in Africa. Young people under the age of 25 account for about 60% of total unemployment in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the African Development Bank. Youth are coming out of school with skills that aren’t necessarily applicable for today’s workforce.
Job creation hasn’t kept pace with the number of young people entering the workforce. In 2014 alone, about 11 million young Africans entered the labor market.
The African continent is abundant in natural resources. Agriculture is the engine driving most African economies. The agriculture sector offers enormous potential to create jobs for young people and grow local economies in Africa.
Yet, agriculture is often seen as an unattractive career choice by many African youth. Some youth envision agriculture work as long, laborious hours with little social recognition. Few realize that careers in agriculture offers much more than what meets the eye. Employment opportunities are available in the full agricultural value chain such as marketing, technology and innovations in storage.
Efforts exist to attract more young people to explore working in the agriculture sector. IGD Frontier Leader Kosmos Energy created the Kosmos Innovation Center (KIC) in 2016 to encourage young entrepreneurs to develop market-based solutions that aim to transform Ghana’s agriculture sector. The African Development Bank’s Enable Youth program, a collaborating partner of IGD, gives African youth the tools and knowledge to become entrepreneurs through agribusiness training programs and internships with established agribusinesses to gain experience in the sector.
Changing the narrative on careers and entrepreneurship in the agricultural value chain is essential in getting young people consider the agriculture sector as a career option.
IGD officially launched the “Making Farming Cool!”, a new podcast series to inspire and inform African young people to pursue careers and entrepreneurship in the agricultural value chain.
Produced by Afropop Worldwide, the podcasts will feature vibrant African contemporary music and compelling interviews to highlight opportunities f in the agriculture sector. The podcast series is a component of the Africa Investment Rising (AIR) campaign, IGD’s dynamic communications and advocacy effort.
In the first episode, host Georges Collinet will take listeners on a captivating journey through South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province to meet Siehle Zealous Sibisi, a 28-year-old who manages his family’s successful sugarcane farm, TBS Holdings, which produces 30,000 tons of sugar a year. TBS Holdings is a supplier of IGD Frontier Leader Illovo Sugar Group.
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To learn more about the Africa Investment Rising Campaign and to learn how you can get involved, please visit www.igdleaders.org/aircampaign.