On October 29 and 30, 2015, The MasterCard Foundation hosted its first Young Africa Works Summit: Practical Solutions for Lifelong Success, in Cape Town, South Africa. And Wakulima Young Uganda was honored to be invited to the event.
This invite-only event brought together a community of 300 thought leaders from NGOs, government, funders and the private sector committed to developing sustainable youth employment strategies in Africa. It also directly involved young people to help understand and explore their journeys, including the challenges they face, in securing meaningful economic opportunities.
This year’s Summit focused on best practices and effective approaches for preparing young people for employment and entrepreneurship opportunities in agriculture. Sub-themes included demand-driven skills development, mixed livelihoods and youth financial services.
During the summit, The MasterCard Foundation released preliminary findings from innovative research conducted over the past six months into youth employment behavior in Africa, where 600 million people are under the age of 25 and 72 percent of its youth live on less than US$2 per day. The Youth Livelihoods Diaries research highlights the extraordinary lengths that young people go to as they try to achieve sustainable livelihoods.
“There is a distinct lack of research into the daily lives of African youth as they seek secure, safe and better paid work,” said Ann Miles, Director of Programs, Financial Inclusion & Youth Livelihoods at the Foundation. “The agricultural sector is set to create eight million stable jobs by 2020 and up to 14 million if the sector is accelerated. We believe it has to feature prominently in development plans for the continent if we hope to achieve a prosperous future for young Africans.”
Preliminary findings of the Youth Livelihoods Diaries research project indicate that:
1. Young people in Africa need to have multiple jobs to survive. Although many of them pursue various micro-business ideas, they often find themselves also having to work in agriculture (sometimes just for household consumption). This experience causes many not to consider agriculture as a viable profession.
2. More than 50 percent of young people are able to save money. The majority are saving cash at home rather than using a bank account.
3. Young people are increasingly using technology, particularly mobile phones. Although this provides new opportunities, it also presents costs.
4. Information about jobs and skills acquisitions is seen as the greatest need for research participants.
In the final analysis from Dr Agnes Kalibata, President of AGRA, posed the question ‘What does Africa need to do differently and what do we all need to do differently?
The single most important thing, she said, is a mindset change.
Our youth are not a problem, they are the best thing that has happened to us today. And we need to nurture that .
If well invested, Agriculture, not Oil, not Gold, not Diamonds will transform the economies of Africa
The food market in Africa can not be fed or met from off shore processing, the cost is so much bigger than the current quick wins
Land is a means to economic empowerment and not a power tool whether at country or house hold level and must be reformed
Lastly, the technology we seem to be waiting for is already here, the real issue is access
What role does policy play in this? The government needs to support through policy, infrastructure, agricultural research, and extension programs that are appropriate for smallholders.
catalyzing private sector and markets: The African food market is worth almost a trillion dollars. How can ambitious African Youth tap into that opportunity?