The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, IITA Cameroon, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, and with funding from the African Development Bank, AfDB, is to create at least 600 agricultural enterprises by 2021. It is in this light that the Empowering Novel Agribusiness-led Employment for Youth, ENABLE Youth Cameroon project, was launched in Yaounde on July 31, 2019 by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Gabriel Mbairobe.
The project, which seeks to innovate in agribusiness, create wealth and decent jobs for youth along agricultural value chains in Cameroon, is expected to recruit and train 1,536 young people in agricultural entrepreneurship. Some 14 Youth Agribusiness Incubation Centres, YABICS, have been established in partnership with host agricultural institutions in five regions – Centre, East, South, Littoral and eventually South West. At the end of the 12-month theoretical and practical training, participants – who are holders of the General Certificate of Education, GCE Advanced Level (or equivalent) plus two years of university education – will be guided to develop business plans for their projects to be financed by banks and other financial institutions.
Signed on May 17, 2018 with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the first set of 512 youth are already undergoing training under the ENABLE project, while the second batch will be recruited in August 2019. To qualify, applicants must be aged between 18 and 35. Female participants represent at least 40 per cent of each intake.
According to Gabriel Mbairobe, the advent of ENABLE Youth Cameroon complements the third component of Cameroon’s Agricultural Value Chain Development Project, AVC-DP that focuses on youth entrepreneurship in agriculture. The representative of IITA Director General, Dr Allan Liavoga, recalled that the project began in 2012 under the appellation, IITA Youth Agripreneurs Strategy, IYA. Before being adopted by AfDB and today involves more than 30 African countries. Dr Cargele Masso, IITA Cameroon Country Representative and ENABLE Youth Cameroon National Coordinator, pointed out that the 600 agribusinesses to be created will in turn generate at least 6,000 jobs.