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Inspiring young Africans to become agri-food entrepreneurs

Pan-African telecommunications, media and technology group Econet and global crop nutrition provider Yara International ASA have launched ‘Generation Africa,’ a partnership initiative to inspire young African entrepreneurs to join the agri-food sector for its viable business opportunities

Generation Africa will reach thousands of young people through its ‘GoGettaz’ competition, which will award US$100,000 in prize money to two exceptional business ventures in the agri-food sector. The partnership initiative will support a cohort of 12 budding young agri-food entrepreneurs to scale and prosper their ventures.

“Africa’s agri-food sector presents a US$ 1-trillion business opportunity by 2030, especially when connected with the current technology revolution. Across Africa’s agri-food chain, innovations can be found in how we grow, harvest, process, store, transport, package, sell and consume food. Together with the pioneers of Africa’s next generation, we want to seize these opportunities. Generation Africa will help youth entrepreneurs launch, grow and mature agri-food businesses that will drive job creation, inclusive growth, and better food supply,” said Svein Tore Holsether, president and CEO of Yara.

Africa has around 600mn ha of arable land, yet it imports food for US$35bn a year – a figure that is estimated to rise to US$100bn by 2025. At the same time, more than 60 per cent of young people across Africa are unemployed. Innovative entrepreneurship could retain more value on the continent, helping to counterbalance rural-urban migration, professionalize farming, generate employment and provide affordable, healthy food to Africa’s growing population.

Generation Africa’s GoGettaz competition is open to young agri-food entrepreneurs aged 18-35 from across Africa. Budding ventures can be submitted to the competition online by 15 July 2019. Twelve finalists will be selected by an expert jury to pitch live at the African Green Revolution Forum in Accra, Ghana 3-6 September 2019. Two winners (one man and one woman) will each win US$ 50,000 to grow their businesses with guidance from Generation Africa.

Beyond the ‘GoGettaz’ competition, Generation Africa’s ambition is to inspire at least one million young people to consider the agri-food sector as a viable and profitable business opportunity. This can only be achieved through close collaboration with stakeholders across the continent to develop the entire ecosystem to support young entrepreneurs.