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Dele Ogbodo in Abuja
The President, Africa Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Akinwumi Adeshina, has said the bank has earmarked $12.5 billon to train the next generation of agriculture entrepreneurs (or agripreneurs), in Nigeria and 24 other African countries before 2025.
The money, according to him, will be disbursed to 10,000 youths in each country through AfDB’s Empowering Novel Agric-Business-Led Employment for Youth in African Agriculture (ENABLED Youth), aimed at promoting youth entrepreneurship in agriculture and agro-business.
The disclosure was obtained on Sunday night from the bank’s official website were resolutions from the just concluded Sasakawa symposium on contributing to social security and jobs through agriculture held at the 6th Tokyo international conference on African Development (TICAD VI) in Nairobi, Kenya.
Akinwumi said: “Under the Program, AfDB, will train the next generation of agriculture entrepreneurs, also referred to as ‘agripreneurs.
“The investment required under the ENABLE Youth program to provide 10,000 youth agribusinesses per country is US $0.5 billion, translating to about US $12.5 billion in 25 countries.”
He said if each enterprise creates five additional employees, this would amount to a minimum of 2.5 million and up to 5 million jobs created within the period.
According to him, governments in the continents can develop agro-business do this by developing agro-allied industrial zones and staple crop processing zones in rural areas.
He said: “The zones, supported with consolidated infrastructure, including roads, water, electricity, will drive down the cost of doing business for private food and agribusiness firms.”
Such zones, he noted, would create markets for farmers, boosting economic opportunities in rural areas, stimulating jobs and attracting higher domestic and foreign investments into the rural areas, adding that they will turn the rural areas into zones of economic prosperity.
According to him, “Feed Africa”, one of the bank’s priorities, aims to transform African agriculture into a globally competitive, inclusive and business-oriented sector that creates wealth, generates gainful employment, improves quality of life and secures the environment.