The 2017 Young Africa Works Summit brought together more than 300 influencers in Kigali, Rwanda to share insights on how youth are driving the modernization of the agricultural sector, as well as challenges to achieving transformation of the sector.
The MasterCard Foundation Director, Financial Inclusion, Ann Miles, opened the Summit by reminding the audience that, with the right conditions, no other sector will be better positioned to deliver employment opportunities and economic growth than agriculture.
“The potential of a demographic dividend in many countries on the continent means the opportunity has never been more pressing,” she said, “and agriculture is at the heart of the opportunity. The two-day Summit illustrated that young people have a vital role to play in modernizing and, ultimately, transforming the agricultural sector, but it requires an enabling environment, increased productivity, and the recognition of agriculture as a source for a range of modern businesses that goes beyond farming the land.
During his welcome, Rwandan Minister for Youth and ICT, the Honourable Jean Philbert Nsengimana, called on the audience to use the Summit to find practical ways to engage youth and enhance productivity and commercialization. “Everyone in this room is a leader. The role of leaders is to connect dots—find solutions to meet problems,” he said.
The Summit encouraged collaboration and thinking across various interdependent sectors, such as energy and infrastructure, to facilitate the growth of the agri-food system and inform employment programs and policies that better serve young people in Africa.