Agriculture does not own a good reputation among the African youth. However, it can be an effective tool against the alarming rural depopulation.
During the 2016 Youth Agribusiness, Leadership, and Entrepreneurship Summit on Innovation (YALESI 2016), held in Dakar, Senegal, from 29th March to 31st March, 250 participants discussed the burdensome lack of perspectives for young people in Africa’s rural areas. Shortage of financial means, minor participation in decision making processes and the negative perceptions around farming have led to an alarming rural depopulation. According to Moses Abukari, IFAD’s Country Programme Manager and Youth Focal Point for West and Central Africa, a rethinking of the agribusiness considering optimized cultivation methods, economic structures and marketing strategies, as well as access to financial resources is highly needed. During the three-day conference information and skills on how to sustain an agricultural business were offered to the youth. The article Why are rural youth leaving farming? published online by the IFAD describes the subjects discussed during the conference in detail.
Since 2010, the projects of the foundation Sabab Lou focus on agricultural production and economic sustainability. Innovative cropping systems, food processing and loans that enable beneficiaries to develop their own businesses have not only proven to reduce the rural exodus but also led to a distinct improvement of the living conditions in the project regions, rural areas of The Gambia and Northeast Ghana. The projects serve as a blueprint to be copied with newly implemented projects.