With a spotlight on gender mainstreaming in agribusiness a team from the AAIN Secretariat has held two sessions with eight young CEOs of eight youth-led companies from Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya at Guzakuza, a member incubator of AAIN.
The half-day session was hosted at the incubator facility in Accra, Ghana focusing on cross-cutting issues and investment opportunities.
The host, Nana Adjoa Sifa who is the initiator of the Guzakuza incubator referred to the role of the young women as timely given their attachment to the incubator and partners.
“Through incubation we have seen the ideas grow and we are looking forward to even more growth, working with AAIN. Currently there is good progress in residential training, coaching and mentorship as guided by the incubation model,” she said.
The basis of the discussions was echoed in the remarks by Florence Taylor the AAIN Membership Manager who took the leaders through the AAIN Core investment Areas, among them, the Engagement of Women and Youth in Investment and Trade.
Jointly, the young job creators expressed their appreciation of the incubation model and also called for further support from more partners in the ecosystem.
Dr Alex Ariho the AAIN CEO represented AAIN in pledging stronger partnership to foster the creation of more jobs and wealth in the three countries and beyond, noting that this would be of continental benefit.
“With the value chains of Shear Butter, Yam, honey and the integration of ICT as well as schools that you have chosen as leaders, we will continue to support you and also bring the concept of the Small Scale Agribusiness Incubator Hubs nearer to you to benefit the youth you represent and more,” he said.
In the second session with the youth leaders and CEOs earlier today, the AAIN team and Guzakuza were joined by Stephanie Gallatova from the FAO who was on a visit to the secretariat.
Gallatova, hinted on the fact that the engagement of more women and youth in agribusiness, through incubation will indeed take Africa further.
“It is indeed inspirational to see young people taking their own initiative to set up businesses especially for young women and youth. There are incredible opportunities in the agribusiness sector particularly in Africa that you have embraced,” she noted.
The FAO’s Stephanie Gallatova (back row 3rd from left) with AAIN staff and the youth leaders (in black tee-shirts) after the second session. She was on a visit to the Incubator of Incubators Center of Excellence (AAIN Secretariat).
Gallatova also highlighted the FAO’s focus on agribusiness as a key priority area in addressing the high rate of youth unemployment in Africa and hinted on agribusiness incubation as a vital means of boosting entrepreneurship and business skills.
She called on the youth leaders build resilience in the face of challenges that arise in running agribusinesses due to the high-risk nature of the sector, climate change and fluctuating commodity prices rather than avoiding the challenges.
The FAO has continued to support agribusiness incubation in Africa as a means of improving livelihoods and fighting unemployment and has among other interventions supported capacity building and needs assessment of AAIN-affiliated mentors and incubators this year.
The work of the FAO in promoting sustainable agriculture is guided by five FAO Principles of Sustainable Agriculture, the third of which states, “Food and Agriculture that fails to protect and improve rural livelihoods, equity and social well-being is unsustainable.”