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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Youths' involvement in agric, key to sustainable development – Rhoda

Young Farmers
Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture at the African Union Commission, Ms Rhoda Peace Tumusiime had said that involving youth in agricultural development and decision making processes is key to ensuring sustainable development in Africa.
She said this at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia while officiating a workshop on youth, ICT and entrepreneurship in agriculture co-organised by Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Co-operation (CTA) and NEPAD E-Africa Programme.
In her address, the AU commissioner said that African's population has over 60 per cent youths and 40 per cent of the 70 per cent people in the rural areas are also youths.
The continent, she noted can leverage on the youths available as the current youths are more educated and learned, enterprising and ambitious.
"We can therefore reap the benefits of the demographic dividend and create a virtuous cycle from a healthier, better-educated and more economically productive and focused workforce, if this potential is well harnessed,” she said.
She also said there is urgent need for the expansion of access to secondary and tertiary education, creating and expansion of rural job opportunities and building capacity and promoting entrepreneurship among the youth.
Ms Rhoda Peace Tumusiime
CTA Director, Mr. Michael Hailu affirmed Africa's unemployment standing at 50 per cent, adding that most of the unemployed are young people and females.
He said CTA would not relent in its effort to support activities that encourage youth in ACP countries to consider agriculture as a viable career path, including seizing ICT chances in that framework. "Modern information and communication technologies provide opportunities for creating jobs and entrepreneurship for the youth."
Acting Head, NEPAD e-Africa Programme, Dr. Edmund Katiti insisted that African development and youth employment could be strengthened through the promotion of e-applications and e-services, the promotion of mobile payment systems, agricultural information systems, open software development and adequate capacity building.
The workshop, NaijaAgroNet gathered involved 30 youths and experts from diverse disciplines, countries and international organizations in Africa, and aimed at exchanging ideas about the use of ICT in agrobiz by African Youths.
The workshop also sees to strategies to strengthen their opportunities in agricultural sector. 
Better promotion of successes in agrobusiness was part of the recommendations from participants, other recommendations include improving opportunities for youth in rural areas using ICTs, providing funding arrangements and policies that support youth business in agriculture and youth companies engaged in the development of ICT solutions for agriculture.
Yinka Awosanya/LS
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