African Development Bank Embarks on Youth and Women Support in Sahel
The African Development Bank has been ardent in their commitment to support women’s empowerment and employment opportunities for youth in Sahel. Alberic Kacou, vice president for Corporate Services and Human Resources at the African Development Bank, noted that the prevailing global economic challenges were a harbinger for African countries to diversify their economies and reduce poverty during a recent speech.

Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA)

The African Development Bank launched the Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA). This program will invest $300 million in funded support for women. There is also an additional $3 billion to support African countries with women involved in business. Women will have an opportunity to empower themselves and create an independent path for other young African girls to pursue.

Jobs for Youth in Africa

In collaboration with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), the African Development Bank launched the Jobs for Youth in Africa program to put an end to youth unemployment by creating 8 million agribusiness jobs within a five-year span.

The program will stimulate the creation of 25 million jobs within the next ten years. A total of $3 billion will be used to fund young entrepreneurs in Africa and facilitate the enhancement of skills to better network youths with industrial development.

Program Offers Youth Training

The training centers and facilities provided by the African Development Bank and the IITA will assist African youths to tackle work in the agricultural sector. The initiative also seeks to encourage unemployed African youths to become involved in agriculture in order to make it a catalyst for development in Africa.

Second Strategy in Effect

Akinwumi Adesina presented five development priorities for the institution in September 2015. The “Feed Africa” initiative is aimed to amplify job creation and make the agriculture sector a lucrative industry. The African Development Bank plans to reduce Africa’s imported food dependency by 2025.

The Benefit of Farmers

Another solution to improve the agricultural sector in Africa is to support local farmers by forming partnerships in the production of goods and reduce the amount of food being imported. This will enable the country to “feed itself” and decrease the high levels of youth unemployment. The removal of regional trade barriers will help to maximize Africa’s agricultural potential in food production.

These dynamic programs created by the African Development Bank will prove influential towards the welfare and positive development of African communities for youth and women.

Shanique Wright

Photo: Flickr

USAID Launches Infrastructure Fund for Africa

The Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Rajiv Shah, the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Donald Kaberuka, and the Swedish Minister for International Development Cooperation, Gunilla Carlsson, recently announced a new fund called the Agriculture Fast Track. The Agriculture Fast Track is a $25 million fund that will spur greater private investment in agricultural infrastructure projects in sub-Saharan Africa. The Agriculture Fast Track fund is the first of its kind.

The announcement was made at the Grow Africa Forum in South Africa. Grow Africa is a partnership of the African Union, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, and the World Economic Forum. It works with eight African countries to engage governments, civil society, and the private sector to advance sustainable agricultural growth.

The Agriculture Fast Track will spur agriculture infrastructure development in countries that are members of the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, strengthening the links from farmers to markets to tables. It will also finance upstream work of project design, including feasibility studies, market analyses, site surveys, business plans, financial modeling, and other activities necessary to ensure project quality and bank-ability by supporting each project with up to $1.5 million. These project preparation grants will ultimately facilitate access to more funding for agriculture infrastructure because banks and other investors require this documentation to issue commercial loans.

The New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition was launched last year by President Obama at the G-8 summit and includes six member countries: Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mozambique, and Tanzania. The New Alliance matches market-oriented regulatory reforms in these six countries with $3.7 billion in commitments from the private sector in agriculture.

The fund will be managed by the African Development Bank with the USAID pledging $15 million and the Government of Sweden, pledging $10 million, respectively.

Shah said, “Since the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition was founded last year, we’ve seen member countries make serious reforms that have led to real progress. The launch of the Agriculture Fast Track allows African farmers to take advantage of these reforms through fast-tracked infrastructure projects that will better deliver their products to markets.”

Carlsson noted, “By targeting the project preparation stage of projects, the Agriculture Fast Track will advance infrastructure projects when funding is most acutely needed to pivot from planning to construction. This targeted approach allows us to catalyze significantly more private sector investments and ensure the highest standards in terms of social and environmental sustainability.”

–  Essee Oruma

Source: USAID