Latest Brussels Briefing 49: “Youth in agribusiness: shaping the future of agriculture”

The latest Brussels Development Briefing no. 49 on “Youth in agribusiness: shaping the future of agriculture” took place on 18th of May 2017 from 09:00 to 13:00, at the ACP Secretariat in Brussels, Belgium. This Briefing was co-organised by CTA, the ACP Secretariat, European Commission (DG DEVCO), Concord, PAFO and AgriCord.

**Webstream: Click here to watch the event live **

**View the coverage on Twitter: @BruBriefings **

Almost 88% of the world’s 1.2 billion youth live in developing countries. Globally, young people account for approximately 24% of the working poor and this dynamic is particularly pronounced in Africa, where over 70% of youth subsist on US$2 per day or less. Although the world’s youth population is expected to grow, employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for young women and men remain limited – particularly for those living in economically stagnant rural areas of developing countries. Projections indicate that 60% of the world’s labour force growth between 2010 and 2050 will be in Africa which has the youngest population in the world, with 200 million aged between 15 and 24 (doubling by 2045 according to the AFDB).

In Africa, agriculture, is still in most cases the sector which can absorb large numbers of new job seekers and offer meaningful work with public and private benefits. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the transition into agriculture begins early.  The vast majority of teenagers who work are working in agriculture. At age 15, of the 60% of those who are working, almost 90% are working in agriculture. The share working outside agriculture increases steadily with age, largely because young people who leave school at higher grades enter other sectors. In rural areas, where limited educational opportunities prevent youths from staying in school for very long, agriculture employs more than 90% of 15- and 16-year-olds, and about 80% of young people ages 24 and older remain in agriculture (although some who report agriculture as their primary activity also have a non-farm activity as well). Women who work are more likely to work in agriculture than men—and unlike men their probability of working in agriculture does not decrease much with age. One reason why so many women remain in agriculture is that they leave school sooner, so employment opportunities are set much earlier for females than for males.

The creation of employment opportunities for young people is among the major development challenges of our time. Changing the vision of youth towards agriculture must happen. In this context, youth-related policies and programmes should seek to identify specific, priority interventions that add value. Policy makers should see the value of investing in empowering youth to strengthen and sustain the foundation for agricultural transformation. Creating more and better jobs, in particular for the growing young rural labour force, should be an explicit objective in agriculture and rural development programmes and youth focused policies and investments in agriculture and rural development should be a priority. Boosting incentives to improve the quality of education will also be key to produce a skilled workforce. We need to increase the understanding of the specific needs of young people, improving the capacity of youth to profitably engage in activities along the agricultural value chain and improve access to markets and finance. As youth are often marginalised in these processes, platforms and mechanisms for their engagement need to be put into place to enable them to fully participate in the policy dialogue, make their voice heard and give recognition to their status.


Background Note and Programme

Highlights (available soon)

Photos (available soon)

Biodata of the speakers 

Resources (available soon)

CTA Resources:

  • Spore edition 184 (March – May 2017) [link]
  • An ICT Agripreneurship Guide – A Path to Success for Young ACP Entrepreneurs (April 2017) [link]
  • Africa agriculture status report 2015: Youth and agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa (2015) [link]
  • Youth and agriculture: Key challenges and concrete solutions (2014) [link]
  • ICT Update 65 English – Youth and ICTs (2012) [link]


8h00-9h00 Registration
9h00-9h20 Introduction of the Briefing: Isolina Boto, Manager, CTA Brussels Office

Introductory remarks: Viwanou Gnassounou, Assistant-Secretary-General, ACP Secretariat; Leonard Mizzi, Head of Unit Rural Development, Food Security, Nutrition, Europeaid, European Commission; Estelle Gallot, Expert, AgriCord; Fatma Ben Rejeb, CEO, Panafrican Farmer’s Organisation (PAFO); Michael Hailu, Director, CTA

9h20-11h00 Panel 1: Employment creation for youth in the agricultural sector
This panel will bring various perspectives on youth employment from research, policy and practice and define key actions to be taken to support youth in agribusiness.
– Experiences of youth going into agriculture: main drivers of success
Betty Wampfler, Deputy Director, IRC / Supagro, France [presentation|video]
– Promoting innovation and entrepreneurship through incubation
Peter Kuria Githinji, Director Business Development and Partnerships, African Agribusiness Incubators Network (AAIN), Ghana [presentation|video]
– Improving financial inclusion of Youth through ICTs
Gerald Otim, Founder and Chief operating officer, Ensibuuko, Uganda [presentation|video]

11h00-11h15 Coffee break

11h00-13h00 Panel 2: Young farmers and entrepreneurs: successes and opportunities ahead
This panel will share concrete successes across ACP countries from young entrepreneurs working in the agribusiness sector and will discuss the drivers of success and their replicability and upscaling.
– Youth Participation in agro-processing in Malawi
Maness Ngoma Nkhata, Lakeshore Agro-Processing Enterprise (LAPE), Malawi [presentation|video]
– E-commerce opportunities for farmers
Bertrand Foffe, Founder, Jangolo Farm, Cameroon [presentation|video]
– Improved agricultural information access through ICTs
Patrick Sakyi, Expert mobile commerce business, Farmerline, Ghana [presentation|video]


Brussels Briefing 48: Rural – Urban Linkages in Africa

Senior experts and policymakers presented important lessons and opportunities for African countries to strengthen linkages between rural and urban areas at a Brussels Briefing which took place on Monday 20th March 2017. The event, held under the title of “Strengthening rural livelihoods in the face of rapid urbanisation in Africa”, attracted a wide audience of over 130 participants representing the ACP and EU diplomatic and development communities present at the ACP Secretariat, and an online audience of over 100 following via Webstream.  It was organised by CTA, in partnership with the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the German Development Agency (GIZ), the Directorate-General for Development and Cooperation of the European Commission (EC/DEVCO), the ACP Secretariat and Concord (the European NGO confederation for Relief and Development).

This debate, which comes at a time of increased focus on Africa’s demographic boom and rapid urbanisation, sought to consider the implications for rural jobs and youth, migration and economic transformation in the continent. Employment, especially for youth, agricultural transformation, and the use of peri-urban areas and small intermediary cities as service hubs emerged as the dominant talking points of the Briefing.

The discussions pointed out the importance of infrastructure to link rural, peri-urban and urban areas, particularly the construction of good roads that can reduce transportation costs and promote development of the off-farm economy. Furthermore, a strong emphasis was placed on the need to make rural transformation inclusive through the right policy interventions and finance mechanisms.

Several examples of successes from producers, young entrepreneurs, researchers and policy makers highlighted new opportunities for value-chain actors in the context of urbanisation and stronger rural-urban linkages. Of significance in terms of emerging trends is the growing demand created by urban consumers, which offers new markets for farmers and entrepreneurs in fresh and processed foods.

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Brussels Briefing 48: “Strengthening rural livelihoods in the face of rapid urbanisation in Africa”

The Brussels Development Briefing no. 48 on “Strengthening rural livelihoods in the face of rapid urbanisation in Africa” took place on 20th March 2017 from 14:00 to 18:00, at the ACP Secretariat (Avenue Georges Henri 451, 1200 Brussels, Room C). This Briefing was co-organised by CTA, BMZ/GIZ, the ACP Secretariat, European Commission (DG DEVCO) and Concord .

**Twitter: share your ideas and questions using the hashtag #BB48 and follow @brubriefings **

Rural areas in many African countries are undergoing manifest transformation processes fuelled by dynamics such a population growth, urbanisation and increasing mobility. The relationship between rural and urban areas is changing and the rural-urban divide is fading, with increasing flows of people, goods and services between the two and the emergence of new migratory and livelihoods patterns. Next to the growth of capital and major cities, much of the urbanization witnessed in African countries has taken place in the continuum of rural areas with villages, towns and smaller cities below 500,000 inhabitants, fuelled in part by better infrastructure and digital connectivity as well as the search for economic opportunity. Rural towns and smaller cities have the potential to invigorate rural areas in their function as market hubs and basic service provision. Yet fulfilling such functions requires considerable investment and local institutional capacity as well as clear political commitment.  Strengthening rural-urban linkages in terms of infrastructure, transport, market access and exchange of information, ideas and innovation can catalyse economic development in rural areas and provide future perspectives for rural population and especially youth. Rural development strategies should therefore consider some of the following opportunities:

  • New income-generating opportunities in food systems as a result of changing urban consumption patterns
  • Investing in towns and intermediary cities as hubs for economic growth and service delivery for rural areas
  • Boosting agricultural productivity and attracting youth to farming
  • Supporting job creation in the rural non-farm economy and enabling diversified and multi-local livelihood strategies

NEWon Rural-Urban Linkages


Programme and Background Note


Highlights (coming soon)


Biodata of the speakers 


Press & Media:
– OECD SWAC article “Brussels Briefing: Rural-urban links” (2017)

More info:

– Spore interview with Dimakatso (Nono) Sekhoto: From finance to farming (2017)
– CTA interview with Steve Wiggins Rural-urban links – opportunities for farmers (2017)
– Brussels Briefing 24:  Major drivers for rural transformation in Africa (2011)
– Spore Magazine No. 180 The Connected Farmer: A new opportunity for the agricultural system (2016)
– Spore Magazine No. 176 Marketing and packaging: the retail revolution (2015)
– ICT Update Issue 77 Linking farmers to Markets (2014)
– Spore Magazine No. 157 Urban Agriculture: City farmers (2012)


13h00-14h00 Registration and light Lunch
14h00-14h30 Introduction of the Briefing Isolina Boto, Manager, CTA Brussels Office  [video]

Introductory remarks: Olusola Ojo, Expert Sustainable Economic Development and Trade, ACP Secretariat [video]; Annelene Bremer, Senior Policy Officer, Rural Development, Land Rights, Forestry, BMZ [info|video]; Michael Hailu, Director, CTA [video]

14h30-16h00 Panel 1: Potential of closer rural-urban linkages for rural transformation and job creation
Chair: Michael Hailu, Director, CTA
– Fostering Rural-Urban links and the implications for the rural economy
Steve Wiggins, Senior Researcher, ODI [presentation|video]

– Employment opportunities in West African food systems
Thomas Allen, Economist, Sahel and West Africa Club Secretariat, OECD SWAC [presentation|video]

– Agri-Business-Led Employment for Youth in African Agriculture: new opportunities
Edson Mpyisi, Principal Agricultural Economist, Coordinator, Agropoles and Agro-Industrial Parks, Agriculture and Agro-Industry Department, African Development Bank Group  [presentation|video]

– Applying a territorial lens to rural development: West Kenya portfolio
Petra Jacobi, Project Manager, GIZ  [presentation|video]

Questions and Answers panel 1 [video]

16h00-16h15 Coffee Break

16h15-18h00 Panel 2: Creating opportunities for rural youth in transforming food systems
Chair: H.E. Mr Amadou Diop, Ambassador of Senegal to the EU
– Fostering employment through territorial development
Denis Pesche, sociologist at CIRAD and member of the Research Unit ART-Dev “Actors, Resources and Territories in Development’ (Montpellier University)  [presentation|video]

– Opportunities for young entrepreneurs in serving urban or semi-urban markets
Nono Dimakatso Sekhoto, African Farmers’ Association of South Africa  [presentation|video]

– Adding value to local products for urban markets
Omar Ouedraogo, Fédération des professionnels agricoles du Burkina (FEPAB)  [presentation|video]

Questions and Answers panel 2 [video]

Closing remarks
H.E. Mr Amadou Diop, Ambassador of Senegal to the EU [video]
Michael Hailu, Director, CTA [video]