AfDB chief woos young, African farmers

African Development Bank (AfDB) President Akinwumi Adesina has pledged US$250 000 to a fund which supports young African farmers.

Dr Adesina, who this month was awarded the 2017 World Food Prize Laureate, said engaging young Africans in agriculture is the solution to the continent’s high unemployment rate.

“By empowering the youth in agriculture, we enable them to establish viable and profitable agribusinesses, jobs and better incomes for themselves and their communities,” he said.

Under the bank’s Empowering Novel Agribusiness-Led Employment (ENABLE), AfDB and its partners aim to train 10 000 agriculture entrepreneurs across the continent, launch 300 000 enterprises and create 1.5 million jobs in the next five years.

“We will arise and feed Africa. The day is coming very soon when all its children will be well-fed, when millions of smallholder farmers will be able to send their kids to school.

“Then you will hear a new song across Africa: ‘Thank God our lives are better at last’,” Adesina said.

The initiative has won him praise from world leaders like US vice president Michael Pence.

Pence said as the global food system is stretched, feeding more people through agricultural transformation will require persistence from leaders like Adesina in driving change and capitalising on public-private sector expertise.

“The United States is and remains committed to food security, and we will continue to work with leaders like you to find innovative ways to end global hunger,” he said.

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