MasterCard, MSU launch $13mn fund to boost youth employment in Nigeria, Tanzania

12 May 2017, 12:00 am
Financial Nigeria


The initiative will encourage youths to participate in horticulture, aquaculture, poultry, cassava, oilseed sectors.

Young farmers

The MasterCard Foundation has announced a partnership with Michigan State University (MSU) to support 15,000 young people to access employment and entrepreneurship opportunities in Nigeria and Tanzania. According to a statement released on Friday, MasterCard Foundation and MSU will launch the AgriFood Youth Opportunity Lab – a five-year, $13 million collaboration – on May 15, 2017, at the Radisson Blu Anchorage Hotel in Lagos.

The AgriFood Youth Opportunity Lab will encourage the youth to participate in the fast-growing horticulture, aquaculture, poultry, cassava and oilseed sectors in Nigeria and Tanzania.

“Working with The MasterCard Foundation and African partners to address one of the most critical problems facing the continent — youth unemployment — reflects how we pursue MSU’s global vision,” said MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon. “We see great potential to expand youth agrifood employment both on and off the farm.”

The partnership will also assist economically disadvantaged, hard-to-reach out-of-school youth as they transition into employment and entrepreneurship opportunities in the agrifood system.

The initiative is a response to a study published last year by Michigan State University, showing that Sub-Saharan Africa’s agricultural sector can be a key driver of youth employment and economic transformation. The Agrifood Youth Employment and Engagement Study says major efforts are needed to provide young Africans with practical skills and access to land, equipment and finance to allow them to transition from subsistence agriculture into higher-paying economic opportunities.

MSU will lead implementation of the AgriFood Youth Opportunity Lab in collaboration with regional partners, including the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA); Venture Garden Group, a Nigerian company; Tanzania’s Sokoine University Graduate Entrepreneurs Cooperative; and Nigeria’s Oyo State College of Agriculture and Technology.