How Masiyiwa, Norwegian firm plan to cultivate young African agribusiness entrepreneurs

Econet Wireless and global crop nutrition firm Yara International ASA, have launched “Generation Africa”, an initiative to develop young African agrifoods entrepreneurs.

Generation Africa plans to reach thousands of young people through its “GoGettaz” competition, which will award US$100,000 in prize money to two agri-foods ventures. The partnership initiative will support 12 budding young agri-food entrepreneurs to scale and grow their ventures.

“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. The time is now for Africa’s entrepreneurs to grow their businesses and embrace the incredible opportunities that agri-food businesses offer. If we do not, someone else will,” says Econet founder and Group Chairman Strive Masiyiwa.

Africa has about 600 million hectares of arable land, yet it imports food for US$35 billion a year – a figure that is estimated to rise to US$100 billion by 2025. At the same time, over 60% of young people across Africa are unemployed.

“Generation Africa will help young entrepreneurs grow agri-food businesses that will drive job creation, inclusive growth, and better food supply,” says Svein Tore Holsether, President and CEO of Yara.

Generation Africa’s GoGettaz competition is open to young agri-food entrepreneurs aged 18-35 from across Africa. Twelve finalists will be selected by an expert jury to pitch live at the African Green Revolution Forum in Accra, Ghana 3-6 September 2019. Two winners (one man and one woman) will each win US$50,000 to grow their businesses with guidance from Generation Africa.