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PARI brought together leading experts in Durban on 7 June 2023 to present and discuss their ideas on how to grow and shape the agrifood sector so that it can become an engine of job and income growth for Africa’s youth. The event took place alongside the FARA-led 8th Africa Agribusiness and Science Week (AASW8) on 5-8 June 2023.

Sharing key insights from PARI research, Dr. Oluwole Fatunbi (FARA) discussed how to empower in particular young agripreneurs in Africa. He highlighted the struggles faced by Africa’s youth, including limited job opportunities and declining interest in physical farming due to technology-driven sectors. Dr. Heike Baumüller (ZEF) explored employment opportunities in agro-processing. Agroprocessing could help to create jobs in the agrifood sector beyond farming, given that it is labor-intensive with high employment elasticity and a high share of female workers.

A panel of experts, many from the youth themselves, put forward their ideas on how to boost employment. Engaging the youth in the sector will require a number of policies and investments, including improving the business environment, de-risking farming and other value chain activities, increasing market efficiency, and upgrading infrastructure, such as irrigation, storage, warehousing and road network. To advance job creation in the agroprocessing sector, governments should invest in tertiary education and training courses to strengthen in particular technical and soft skills, bring women into the technical professions, and develop social safety nets for lower-skilled workers who are more likely to be affected by job losses.