Young Africans Seeding Agri-Entrepreneurship in African Universities

This publication follows the journeys of young agricultural change makers who are part of the TAGDev scholarship programme. TAGDev is a unique scholarship programme, supported by the Mastercard Foundation, which seeks to build the capacities of students and universities alike to serve as fulcrums of development in their societies. It also seeks to engage with and harness the extensive, complex opportunities that exist within Africa’s rapidly evolving agri-food systems to bring about wealth creation and inclusive development, and to shape the prospects of gaining meaningful livelihoods for young people across Africa, the world’s most youthful continent. The TAGDev programme is a flagship of the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) network, a membership organisation comprised of 129 universities across 38 countries in Africa. Over the past 15 years, RUFORUM has pioneered innovative methods of capacity building, engaging students in experiential learning and participatory action research with smallholder farmer communities across Africa. In the process it has contributed to the development of new, more socially connected models of research and training that work within the context of Africa’s overburdened universities. The network has steadily built up a cadre of thousands of young scientists who are passionately and proactively engaged in agricultural research and innovation systems, driving food security and economic development forward on the continent. Building on this impressive legacy, the TAGDev scholarship programme brings an explicit enterprise development focus to RUFORUM’s mission. It has an eight-year lifespan (2016–2024). More than 220 master’s and undergraduate scholarship students will be trained at two pilot universities – Egerton University in Kenya and Gulu University in Uganda. In addition, there are other interesting initiatives involved, which include a broader range of RUFORUM universities. This publication focuses on experiences in the two pilot universities. Through the vehicle of the scholarships, the programme also seeks to contribute towards shaping new models of agricultural education, as universities reimagine their roles and strive to become incubators and catalysts for young entrepreneurial talent within rapidly changing societies that are faced with significant challenges of employment, food security and climate change. In this sense, the programme also aligns with the Mastercard Foundation’s ambitious strategy of supporting 30 million young people to enter dignified employment by 2030.
Date of publication: 
Region Focus: 
East Africa
RUFORUM TAGDev Resources
Agris Subject Categories: 
Licence conditions: 
Open Access
Access restriction: 
Web resource