The 6th EU-Africa Business Forum took place in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire on Monday. “Investing in Job Creation for Youth”, was the central theme at the event this year.
African Development Bank Group President Akinwumi Adesina was part of the proceedings and spoke at a high level forum at the event. He called for a new thinking while dealing with the youth of the African continent.
“Young people aren’t looking for help, they are looking for the right environment to flourish,” he said.
He called for more employment opportunities for the youth of Africa in the Agricultural sector in rural parts. There is a small number of young persons involved in agri-businesses and Adesina stressed on the need of more investment and initiative to change that statistic.
Adesina spoke about his belief in the youth of Africa and the difference they could make in the agricultural sector moving forward. African farmers have an average age of approximately 65 years of age, the continent as a whole spends a massive US $35 billion annually on food imports despite the availability of 600 million hectors of uncultivated arable land.
“Agriculture is sexy, agriculture is cool. The farmers of tomorrow are not going to be wearing overalls, but will be young people equipped with digital technology to ply their trade. We must equip them appropriately,” said Adesina, the 2017 World Food Prize Laureate.
The belief that Africa could one day act as the whole world’s food basket is the logic behind the bank’s high 5 priorities. Which are Light up and power Africa, Feed Africa, Integrate Africa, Industrialize Africa, and Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa.
The attainment of energy remains the primary objective as it is critical to all other developmental activities.
Daniel Kablan Duncan, Côte d’Ivoire’s Vice-President, earlier opened the forum by speaking of the importance of a strong partnership between Africa and Europe, as it would be an optimal tool in meeting Africa’s exciting developmental dynamics.
The central thread of the forum was job creation, the projected focus of the EU-AU Summit taking place on November 29-30 in Abidjan, where the European External Investment Plan (EEIP) will be formally launched and endorsed by the African Union.
There was a consensus that Africa’s shared development objectives cannot be achieved without strong investment by African governments, private sector and development partners such as the EU.