As I have written here before, if I were a young entrepreneur starting out in business now, I would seriously consider agriculture, and especially with the exciting new technologies emerging, I would look at what the experts now call the “agri-food” sector.
The global food market is huge and the need for food never-ending. With so many uncertainties across the Earth, there is at least one thing we can count on: Everyone will continue to need nutritious food… Always and forever. This is not only a growing market but a critical human need that we must use our entrepreneurial #mindset and#technology to meet in more innovative, effective and profitable ways.
Business opportunities abound “from farm to fork” as they say… and even before the farm and after the meal is over, too! Let’s talk.
If you’re interested in hearing more, I am excited to tell you that tomorrow (Thursday 24 January) at 13:15 (sharp, SAST) I will take part in an exciting fireside chat to discuss a new initiative we’re calling “Generation Africa”. I will be there in Davos together with Svein Tore Holsether, CEO of Yara International (the world’s largest crop nutrient company, based in Norway). We will be joined on stage by three World Economic Forum (WEF) Young Global Leaders:
# Nigerian economist, investor and agri-food entrepreneur Ms Ada Osakwe, founder and CEO of Agrolay; and
# South Africa-based technology entrepreneur Ms Rapelang Rabana (founder of Rekindle Learning and Yeigo, she was one of our “African Lionesses” from my FB series in 2015).
The discussion will be moderated by social entrepreneur and WEF Young Global Leader, Ms Katie Hill, who also happens to be Liquid Telecom’s Global Director of Power and Strategic Initiatives based in Nairobi, Kenya. Here is the link to tune in: https://www.facebook.com/
“Generation Africa” is an idea we have been working on for a few months now. It reflects our shared vision at Econet and Yara of the need to inspire and support young agri-food entrepreneurs across the continent. We will invite a coalition of others to join us in this collaboration not just to#Re-ImagineRural but to #Re-ImagineFoodProduction to create employment opportunities across the value chain in Africa’s cities, too!
I won’t share too much detail yet because part of the purpose of this first international public dialogue is to listen to everyone’s ideas, including yours, which I hope you will share here.
My friend Akin Adesina, who is now President of the African Development Bank, always used to say to me: “Agriculture is not a development activity, it is an industry!” Ever since he mentioned this, I have really opened my entrepreneurial eyes to see the opportunities, and it is absolutely breathtaking.
We really want young people with a whole mix of different interests to start to think differently about agriculture in Africa, and to begin to obtain the type of skills that will totally transform economies across Africa, literally from the ground up!
___Don’t say I didn’t tell you! The opportunities are there, but who will see them first and who will be the fast followers?
I once saw another quote somewhere that also got my attention: “To be interested in food and not food production, is clearly absurd!”
Now here’s some serious homework questions for those of you with the imagination and vision to create businesses with the potential to scale and (profitably!) feed Africa and the world:
# How might we inspire a new generation of agri-food enterprises across Africa?
# How might we better support agri-food entrepreneurs on their journey?
# How can we ensure small and growing businesses can access the capital they need to fulfill their growth potential?
Other serious people across the globe have been asked these same questions. Now let us hear from you. We are listening!
If you want to find out more, please check out Yara and Econet’s newly-released Landscape (research) Paper entitled: “Generation Africa – A Landscape Study: Youth Enterprise in Africa’s Agri-Food Sector.” https://www.yara.com/