The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB), has approved the ENABLE Youth Nigeria program, and will provide a USD 250 million loan, to contribute to job creation, food security and nutrition, rural income generation and improved livelihoods for youths in both urban and rural areas.
The specific objective of the program is to create business opportunities and decent employment for young women and men along priority agricultural value chains of the various enterprises (aquaculture, crops farming, marketing, processing, etc.).
The programme has four components: (i) Enabling environment for youth empowerment, which aims to create an enabling environment nation-wide for decent employment of young unemployed graduates (Greenfields) and a proportion of those already engaged in agribusiness (Brownfield); (ii) Entrepreneurship and agribusiness incubation, will operate in a two-step manner in agribusiness incubation with youth first participating in a two-week agribusiness orientation training (for both Greenfield and Brownfield agripreneurs; and Youth then serve either as interns within existing or newly-formed agripreneurs groups (the Greenfield option) or are attached to an existing agribusinesses (the Brownfield option) in order to obtain additional experience in modern farming and agribusiness operations and management skills to supplement their orientation training at the incubation centers; (iii) Business development and financing, which entails participating youth transiting from agribusiness interns to successful owners of agribusinesses or employees in going concerns. Financial empowerment is critical for effective transition after the 9-month (maximum) agribusiness incubation and placement period, to actually set up a business; and (iv) Programme management and coordination, which entails the day-to-day management based on adequate results measurement framework.
The programme will be implemented in all the 36 States of the Federation and Federal Capital Territory (FCT). All States plus FCT are eligible to be selected within two years based on readiness. The targeted beneficiaries will be in two categories. The first are unemployed young Nigerian graduates from any field of study who have finished their National Youth Service Corp program (Greenfield). The second are graduate youths who are already successfully engaged in agribusiness, but have no access to commercial loan to grow their businesses (Brownfields).
The mainstreaming of gender and environmental issues across the various components would ensure inclusiveness. The program will target a 50:50 male and female participation across the Federation aged 18-35 years.
The number of beneficiaries of the program will depend in large part upon the outcome of the agribusiness incubation placement and successful bankable proposals. In general, it is expected that all the youth that have successfully undergone the incubation program and satisfies the relevant criteria will move to the next stage of accessing the loans to set up their agribusinesses or may find employment with the private sector and the rural development community. Most of the loans will be about US$50,000 maximum per business. Agripreneurs can have individual or joint businesses and these must be duly registered by Corporate Affairs Commission. The target is to reach 1,000 agripreneurs per State who will establish enterprises, as individuals (about 2,000 for both green and brown fields) and as groups of 10 – 50 (creating about 5,500 businesses). The businesses will generate about 185,000 additional jobs. Total direct jobs created by the program would reach as much as 222,000.