Econet, a leading Pan-African telecommunications group, and global crop nutrition leader, Yara International ASA, have come together to launch ‘Generation Africa’, an initiative that seeks to inspire young entrepreneurs to join the agri-food sector for its viable business opportunities.
Generation Africa plans to reach thousands of young people through its ‘GoGettaz’ competition, which will award $100,000 in prize money to two exceptional business ventures in the agri-food sector. The initiative will support a cohort of 12 budding young agri-food entrepreneurs to scale and develop their ventures.
“Africa’s agri-food sector presents a US$ 1-trillion business opportunity  by 2030, especially when connected with the current technology revolution,” said Svein Tore Holsether, President and CEO of Yara
“Across Africa’s agri-food chain, innovations can be found in how we grow, harvest, process, store, transport, package, sell and consume food. Generation Africa will help youth entrepreneurs launch, grow and mature agri-food businesses that will drive job creation, inclusive growth, and better food supply,” he continued.
According to recent World Bank findings, Africa has about 600 million hectares of arable land, yet it imports food for $35 billion a year – a figure that is estimated to rise to $100 billion by 2025.
At the same time, over 60% of young people across Africa are unemployed. Innovative entrepreneurship could retain more value on the continent, helping to counterbalance rural-urban migration, professionalize farming, generate employment and provide affordable, healthy food to Africa’s growing population.
“Africa is full of entrepreneurs. We have more entrepreneurs than any other continent. But where the average age of an entrepreneur is 19, the average age of a farmer is 60,” explained said Econet’s Founder and Group Chairman, Strive Masiyiwa.
Generation Africa’s vision is to strengthen the ecosystem for youth entrepreneurs in the agri-food sector across the continent, allowing them to unlock this untapped potential.
Generation Africa’s GoGettaz competition is open to young agri-food entrepreneurs aged between 18 and 35 from across Africa. As part of the arrangement, 12 finalists will be selected by an expert jury to pitch live at the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) in Accra, Ghana from 3rd to 6th September, 2019. Two winners (one man and one woman) will each win $50,000 to grow their businesses with guidance from Generation Africa.
Beyond the “GoGettaz” competition, Generation Africa’s ambition is to inspire at least one million young people to consider the agri-food sector as a viable and profitable business opportunity.
“This is Africa’s Generation. Never has there been a more powerful moment in history, nor a more digitally-capable generation to leapfrog Africa’s agri-food sector from a net importer of food to feeding the planet,” Masiyiwa concluded.