By looking at Africa’s scenario there are more than 60% of Africans are under 25, and every year, 10-12 million young people enter the job market in search of employment. Almost 70% of the population work in farming in rural areas or agriculture employs, but there are some people who aim for higher wages and a more secure standard of leaving is driving them to shift to urban areas.
This migration can be slowed down by Digital technologies along with the right policies and investments. There has been significant growth in digitalization for agriculture (D4Ag) over the last ten years, although in Africa it has been slow to serve the smallholders that produce some 80% of agricultural output.
By combining digital technology and rural opportunities, young farmers can identify new and profitable business opportunities, not just in food production but across the entire agricultural value chain.
CTA is a leader in the use of digital technologies for agriculture and is at the forefront of the move towards precision agriculture solutions, including data gathering by satellites and drones, weather information and soil sensors. These digital tools are making agriculture more efficient and climate-smart, allowing farmers to plant and cultivate their crops with greater accuracy and increasing the appeal of a sector often considered physically demanding and economically unpredictable.
CTA has used the AgriHack Talent initiative for over 5 years to encourage and support digital entrepreneurship among tech-savvy youth in Africa as well as the Caribbean and Pacific. The main highlight is Pitch AgriHack, an annual competition for start-ups offering e-agriculture services. New participants receive training and mentorship during a five-day boot camp.
Another opportunity they have to pitch digital agribusinesses to prospective investors. Finalists have raised more than 2 million € to date and reached at least 1 million farmers and agricultural stakeholders with their services.
Likewise, the Eyes in the Sky project has supported the establishment of 30 rapidly expanding, largely youth-led enterprises that offer drone-based services in the agricultural sector. By enabling real-time data gathering and processing through the project’s support for these drone-based enterprises, CTA aims to enhance decision-making and so improve productivity and yields. The young entrepreneurs have been provided with technical training in the responsible use and piloting of drones as well as data acquisition and processing.
Africa Youth Month offers an opportunity to celebrate the many achievements of the continent’s young people while recognizing their ongoing role as key agents of change, economic growth, and sustainable development in all areas of African society.