Nestlé the world’s leading food and beverage company, has announced plans to offers economic opportunities to young people in Central and West Africa.
In line with its purpose of “enhancing quality of life and contributing to a healthier future”, Nestlé has set out to help 10 million young people around the world gain access to economic opportunities by 2030.
Under its flagship programme, dubbed the ‘Nestlé Needs YOUth Initiative’, the company focuses on entrepreneurship, ‘agripreneurship’, as well as providing work readiness skills training to young people.
Nestlé believes that communities cannot thrive if they cannot offer a future for younger generations. The company believes that providing youth with the right opportunities helps to create wealth and support the development of communities.
In Central and West Africa, over 500 young people have benefited from the global Nestlé Need YOUth initiative through job fairs, internship opportunities as well as graduate and management trainee programmes as at 2017 alone.
In addition, over 4,200 people are now operating their own businesses through the ‘My Own Business’ (MYOWBU) and pushcart initiatives under the Nestlé Professional out-of-home business. Globally, last year, the company provided more than 30,000 jobs and 11,000 apprenticeship opportunities to young people under 30.
Nestle stated that the power of youth, their resourcefulness and ingenuity are strong contributing factors to the development of economies around the world. However, the majority of young people lack economic opportunities, which unfortunately leads to high levels of youth unemployment, underutilized talents and skills.
An analysis by the African Development Bank on Jobs for Youth in Africa indicates that “of Africa’s nearly 420 million youth aged 15 to 35, one-third are unemployed, another third are vulnerably employed and, only one in six is in wage employment.”
In a statement released this week, the consumer goods company noted that the commemoration of International Youth Day on 12th August provided the needed platform to find solutions to these challenges by exploring the opportunities for the development of youth in Africa and the world at large.
Under the global theme, ‘Safe Spaces for Youth’, this year’s International Youth Day highlighted the importance of providing safe physical and digital spaces that harness the full potential and abilities of young people to ensure inclusiveness and to promote development.
Sourcing more than 70% of its raw materials in the region, farmers play a vital role in Nestlé’s value chain in Central and West Africa.
Through initiatives such as Nestlé Cocoa Plan and Nescafé Plan, over 10,000 young people from Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana receive special training on good agricultural practices. This enables them to work on nurseries to grow coffee and cocoa plantlets with the support of certified Agronomists.
In Nigeria alone, there are 59 young volunteers also participating in the Nestlé Cereals Plan & Feed the Future Maize Quality Improvement Project where they are trained on mitigating contaminants during planting with safe handling of seeds and pesticides. The technical skills gained through the project increase the chances that these young people earn a good living through agribusiness.
Rémy Ejel, Market Head of Nestlé Central and West Africa (CWA) explained that the company wants to equip youth with the needed skills and offer them the right opportunities for their development.
Nestlé CWA youth initiatives contribute to the attainment of UN Sustainable Development Goals 2, 3, 8 and 11, which include: Zero hunger; Good health and wellbeing; Decent work and economic growth; as well as Sustainable cities and communities respectively.
“By providing, growing and harnessing talents of young people, Nestlé can successfully contribute to building sustainable communities and spur economic growth. This is one of the concrete ways Nestlé creates shared value for the company and for the society,” Ejel said.