The African Development Bank, Africa’s biggest lending institution, recently elected a new leader: Akinwumi Adesina. The former Minister of Agriculture in Nigeria, Adesina led an agricultural transformation in his country. Among Adesina’s revolutionary acts was the launch of a program to develop 750,000 young entrepreneurs—Nagropreneurs—in agriculture. In his new position, Adesina will have the opportunity to promote similar reforms across Africa. It is just what Africa needs.
Africa has the world’s largest proportion of young people, as well as the highest prevalence of hunger in the world. The majority live in rural areas, and their families are farmers who largely remain outside the mainstream of the formal economy, struggling to increase their productivity and incomes.
Today, 70 percent of Africa’s young people live on less than US$2 a day and the youth unemployment is high. African countries face the challenge of providing employment to the young, even as its working age population is expected to double to one billion over the next 25 years. Agricultural development offers a crucial part of the solution to this dilemma.