Report of the Partners Meeting on Promoting Equal Opportunity for Youth Employability and Entrepreneurship in Africa

The AfricanUnion Agenda 2063 aspiresforAfrica to become a major knowledgeand innovation force in the global economy. The Agenda’s action plan provides for a more integrated and inclusive Africa that uses its natural resources, human capital and institutions to drive technological, social and business innovation for development. It proposes approachesthat will ensure rapid and sustainable growth, reduce out-migration, and improve quality of life. Highly-skilled human resources are essential to develop and deploy new technologies to meet the goals and aspirations of the Agenda. Thisis also envisionedin the UnitedNations 2030 Agendaon sustainable development, notably:Goal 4 “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education andpromote lifelong learning opportunitiesforall” and Goal 10 “Reduce inequality within and among countries”. The success of any initiatives to contribute to Africa’s response to regional and global agendas will depend on synergy between and among partners and stakeholders operating in the African region. Recognising the untapped potential of returns to investment in youth entrepreneurship, and the challenges that Africa’s tertiary agricultural education sector faces, the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Development in Agriculture (RUFORUM), a network of 119 universities from 38 African countries across the African continent, developed “the African Universities Agenda for Higher Agricultural Education, Science, Technology and Innovation (AHESTI)”as a continental “Vision 2030 Strategy” to deepen the involvement of universitiesinAfrica in the national,regional and continental knowledge-driven development agendas. RUFORUM Vision 2030 seeks to harness the resident capacities and innovation of vibrant transformative universities to catalyse sustainable inclusive agricultural developmentto feed and create prosperityforAfrica - with a special focus on developing skilled and entrepreneurial graduates, and the generation and scaling up of knowledge products and innovations with impact. AHESTI was developed with awareness of Africa’slaggingbehind in high-levelskills,technologies and innovations.Itrecognisesthe need to domore,and to do it differently. Itisabout ensuring thatAfrica’s young population and institutions are empowered to develop new knowledge and innovationsfor societal and economic transformation. Thisismostimportantin agricultureand otherprimary sectors that provide food, employ a large proportion ofthe population, and provide large export and foreign exchange earningsforthe continent. RUFORUM operates along and across the entire education and science, technology and innovation value chains involving Technical Vocational Education Training (TVET), Higher Education Science and Technology (HEST), and Research and Development (R&D) institutions, all of which play a critical role in developing the right quality of human resources, new knowledge, as well astechnologies and innovationsrequired to transformthe continent’s economy. The expanded higher education sector has generated many graduates, yet the notion of graduate unemployment and the lack of appropriate skills persistinmostAfrican countries. Moreover,with an ever increasing population expected to reach 2 billion by 2050, there is urgent need to explore alternatives to exploit the potential that this energetic labour presents for the development of the continent. At the same time, there is need to harness available opportunities for the benefit of the youth to improve productivity and livelihoods. In the agriculture sector, the need to move beyond farmproduction to value addition and inclusiveserviceprovisionacrossthe commodity valuechain is paramount.Higher education is a catchment area forthe youth who are at the start oftheir adultlife and open to ideas and practicesthat will be instrumental throughouttheirlifespan. The expansion of curriculumto incorporate entrepreneurship, financial inclusion and othersoft skillsis a fundamental attribute to harnessthis potential. The need to build human resource capacity to reorient academic instruction to appreciate the changing paradigmforhigher agriculturaleducation is a key component for RUFORUM Vision 2030.
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East Africa
RUFORUM Annual Reports, Strategic Plans, and Other Corporate Outputs
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