AfDB announces new youth training drive to promote agricultural industrialization

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has announced a new youth training drive in partnership with the Brazil-Africa Institute to train young farmers (aged 18-35 years) in commodity processing, financial literacy and management techniques.

The initiative aims at providing the much-needed stimulus to drive the expansion of agriculture-based economic development with an initial focus on developing cassava farm products in West Africa. The Bank is currently offering training opportunities for 30 youth to train in Brazil for three months, said AfDB’s Director of Agriculture and Agro-Industry, Chiji Ojukwu, who spoke Tuesday, September 5 at the 7th African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) in Abidjan.

The youth training aims at growing the agricultural industry networks and is part of measures being implemented by the Bank to grow Africa’s food industry and create agricultural-based entrepreneurs, he said.

“I am quite optimistic these kinds of training opportunities provide avenues for the youth to participate in driving new farming techniques. We must also work together to accelerate the mindset change especially in parents who still do not view farming as a career for their children,” Ojukwu said.

The Bank is spearheading efforts to revitalize the agriculture sector through investments in building commodities such as cassavas, milk, cotton and other key African produce through a sector-by-sector approach, to enable the youth to grow businesses with the aim of quickening Africa’s industrialization.

“I call on the stakeholders to accelerate the delivery of results for the African youth,” Ojukwu said during a session on the “Next-Generation of Agriculture Fair,” showcasing the various programmes the respective organizations such as the Bank and the UN agencies are collaborating in to improve livelihoods.

Ojukwu said the Bank believes that access to financing is not the only major challenge facing the youth participating in agriculture. He said the Bank’s response to the challenges facing the youth mainly target measures such as how to develop the new agri-business centres and building the skills to manage them.

“We see the need for the building of the youth skills as critical to this success. You can do business in a value chain but if you lack the required skills such as financial literacy, business skills and access to finance, then the chances for success are limited,” Ojukwu said.

The Bank notes that the respective governments which have been beneficiaries of funding towards building the youth enterprise have been slow in dispatching these finances to the youths’ benefit.

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