A project is officially launched to support six East African countries

January 26, 2022, Addis Ababa – The Sub-Regional Office for East Africa (SFE) of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Japanese Government Mission to the African Union officially launched a sub-regional project to promote the employment of women and young people in agriculture and agro-industry in six East African countries.

The project, Promoting employment and entrepreneurship opportunities among women and youth in agriculture and agribusiness in East Africa, is implemented in Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan and Uganda. It aims to facilitate and ensure better knowledge and application of digital solutions in agri-food systems, with a particular focus on women and youth. It also builds human and institutional capacity, while offering agripreneurs the opportunity to access finance for the development of agrifood systems.

During the virtual launch event, David Phiri, FAO Sub-Regional Coordinator for Eastern Africa and Representative to the AU and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), recalled that the Eastern Africa sub-region was home to 50 percent of the highly food-insecure population of the whole of Africa and therefore helping this sub-region meant supporting the whole of Africa.

He further noted that the sub-region was under stress from multiple shocks, such as locust infestation, climate-induced shocks, conflict and political instability, and socio-economic strains. The COVID-19 pandemic has posed additional risks, which have significantly undermined the livelihoods of millions of people, especially young people and women. To address this challenge, FAO, in collaboration with development partners, has engaged in several interventions, supporting decent employment, agripreneurship and building the resilience of youth and women in the agricultural sector.

“This project, which helps nations explore new ways to harness their young, energetic, innovative and industrious resources by creating employment opportunities, where agriculture is the most viable sector, is one of the commitments the most timely from FAO and the Government of Japan,” commented Phiri.

His Excellency HORIUCHI Toshihiko, Ambassador of Japan to the African Union, affirmed that the Japanese government was pleased to work with FAO to address food security challenges in East Africa, where the livelihoods of millions people depend heavily on agriculture.

“Agriculture and food security are a fundamental basis of all socio-economic activities, and therefore, they will be the priority agenda of TICAD8 – the 8th Tokyo International Conference on African Development – which will take place will be held this year,” underlined Ambassador Horiuchi.

Recalling the declaration of the AU Heads of State and Government which marked 2022 as the year of nutrition, under the theme “Building Resilience in Nutrition and Food Security on the African Continent: Accelerating the human capital, social and economic development*,” HE Horiuchi highlighted the importance of the project as a catalyst to foster ongoing efforts to improve agrifood systems through agricultural transformation.

“This project is very relevant for the sub-region in that it focuses on women and youth, knowing that women represent half of the population and provide more than 40 percent of the labor force in agricultural and animal production. The sub-region is also a place, where a significant percentage of the population is young, which represents a great potential for the transformation of the agro-food system”, explained Ambassador Horiuchi.

Presenting their first experiences in the implementation of the project, the experts from South Sudan and Uganda reiterated the positive results achieved so far among young smallholder farmers, cooperatives and women’s groups in terms of access to new technologies, digital platforms, technical skills, finance and markets to improve their businesses. The representative of the African Youth Agribusiness Platform (AYAP), an initiative supported by FAO and the East African Farmers Federation (EAFF), also presented the experience of AYAP in implementing of the project at national and regional levels, noting that the platform had been instrumental in sharing experience, learning and mentoring.

About the project

The project is designed to facilitate and ensure (1) better knowledge and application of digital solutions in agrifood systems, with a particular focus on youth and women; (2) Strengthening of human and institutional capacities in the creation and improvement of employment and entrepreneurship opportunities in the agricultural sector; and (3) direct support provided to youth and women agripreneurs to access agricultural finance in East Africa.

For more information please contact:

Mr. Abebe D. Banjaw Communication and Media Consultant FAO Subregional Office for Eastern Africa

Phone. +251 911 661257 Email: [email protected]