Nigeria, Tanzania youths empowered in agriculture

From OKORO CHINEDU
LAGOS, (CAJ News) – A US$13 million, five-year collaboration between a United States university and a global payments technology company will help 15 000 youths access employment and entrepreneurship opportunities in fast-growing agriculture sectors in Nigeria and Tanzania.
The partnership between Michigan State University (MSU) and The MasterCard Foundation, dubbed AgriFood Youth Opportunity Lab will focus on youth ages 18 to 24 to partake in horticulture, aquaculture, poultry, cassava and oilseed sectors.
Targeting Lagos and Dar-es-Salaam in Nigeria and Tanzania respectively,Agrifood Youth Lab will assist economically disadvantaged, hard-to-reach and out-of-school youth transition into employment and entrepreneurship opportunities.
“Working with The MasterCard Foundation and African partners to address one of the most critical problems facing the continent — youth unemployment — reflects how we pursue MSU’s global vision,” said MSU President, Lou Anna K. Simon.
“We see great potential to expand youth agrifood employment both on and off the farm.”
More than 60 percent of Africa’s young people are jobless or underemployed, and formal job creation efforts in Africa’s growing economies have been insufficient, according to African Economic Outlook.
Comprising 20 percent of Africa’s population, Tanzania and Nigeria together represent an important opportunity for intervention in skills acquisition, job creation and employment for youth.
The programme will have a special focus on gender equity, aiming for equal representation of young men and women across its programs addressing policy, training, mentoring and other constraints that affect the ability of young women to start enterprises or obtain employment.
Reeta Roy, president and Chief Executive Officer of The MasterCard Foundation, said the partnership with MSU was key to addressing youth unemployment.
“By engaging the private sector to develop business opportunities for young people, the project also addresses some of the challenges youth face in seeking work,” said Roy.
CAJ News

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