As every year, the FAO Subregional Office for West Africa (SFW) invites all stakeholders to reflect and make concrete proposals to promote youth employment in agri-food systems in West Africa, during the 14th Multidisciplinary Team Meeting (MDT14) scheduled from 7 to 9 March 2023 in Dakar, Radisson Hotel.
During three days, SFW stakeholders and partners will review the most appropriate options and solutions and explore opportunities for partnership development and resource mobilisation to address together the challenges of adapting West African youth and women to the transformation of agri-food systems.
Despite West Africa’s agricultural potential, young men and women are in a vulnerable situation and face age-specific difficulties, even though they are key operational and political actors in the transformation of agri-food systems (production, processing, storage, distribution and use of food).
In spite of these challenges, there is a largely untapped reservoir of employment opportunities in agriculture to help young people build a better life for themselves while contributing to more productive, efficient and resilient agri-food systems towards the achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. To take advantage of all these opportunities, there is a need to invest more in the agro-sylvo-pastoral and fisheries (ASPH) sector and make it more competitive, modern and attractive to all young people, especially young rural migrants who may consider agricultural work to be arduous and unrewarding. This would not only harness their potential labour force for development, but also provide opportunities and a better future and thereby reduce the use of “negative” coping strategies (migration, drugs, crime, terrorism, etc.).
The MDT14 is therefore an appropriate framework for exchanges between the FAO Sub-regional Office for West Africa and the FAO Country Offices in the sub-region, on the one hand, and between FAO, governments, sub-regional economic communities and specialised institutions, civil society and the private sector, on the other.
This meeting, which takes place in hybrid mode, is an opportunity to
- Share successful experiences and best practices of Member States and their partners in strengthening employability, entrepreneurship and inclusion of youth and women in agri-food value chains;
- Identify appropriate solutions, key current challenges and opportunities as well as employment prospects for youth in the agro-pastoral and fisheries sector in the countries and in the context of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and natural shocks and conflicts in the sub-region;
- Share experiences of youth agricultural entrepreneurship in West Africa and elsewhere, through testimonies of young agripreneurs on their motivation and success as well as difficulties and lessons learnt;
- Identify the main actions that FAO and its partners, at the national and sub-regional levels, could jointly implement to promote decent employment and entrepreneurship for youth and women in West Africa while contributing to the link between humanitarian, development and peace.
50 participants in the room composed of Country Representatives and experts from the FAO Sub-regional Office will exchange online with 150 participants of all categories from partner Institutions in West Africa and around the world during this meeting.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of FAO Regional Office for Africa.