IFAD president harps on tapping youth manpower
President of International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Prof. Nwanze Kanayo has stressed need for the government to focus on rural transformation and also take advantage of the huge youth population dividend to develop agriculture and solid minerals.
He said African continent should not play with its huge potential of about 200million people under the age 25, adding that there should be targeted investment that focus on rural areas to attract young people.
Nwanze said agriculture remains the solution to creating employment for the youths and conscious efforts must be made by the government to provide necessary infrastructure and enabling environment.
IFAD president, who spoke during the 9th regional implementation forum for IFAD-supported projects in West and Central Africa, bemoaned that Sub-Saharan Africa imports $35 billion worth of food annually, noting that such money could have being invested in producing food locally.
Nwanze maintained that rural transformation would create a range of opportunities for young people, so that they are not compelled to migrate to urban centres. He said that by so doing, Africa could create a world where people take up tools for production, and not arms for destruction.
He however tasked government to introduce polices that would encourage investment in agro-industrial sector at every point along the value chain, saying that the policy must encourage inclusive and transparent partnerships, so that poor rural people are not left behind, exploited or excluded.
He stressed the need for the policies to support smallholder-led-agriculture that offer incentives for investment in agriculture, and reduce the risks for farmers and private sector partners.
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