I was born in a small village in southern Rwanda, where the majority of inhabitants rely on subsistence farming for their daily living. Given its far distance from the national grid, the village has no access to electricity, and biomass is the main source of fuel. As I grew up facing these challenges firsthand, I developed a passion for having a direct role in improving my livelihood and the livelihoods of my fellow villagers.
In 2014, a youth-led company, CARL Group, made up of four young entrepreneurs from Rwanda had an idea: to process orange-fleshed sweet potatoes (OFSP) and turn them into baked goods. Hardworking, determined, passionate and business-minded, the company has added value by taking what was once considered a valueless crop and creating healthy, consumable vitamin A products.
My name is Prisca Egboluche and I am from Nigeria. I am a MasterCard Foundation graduate Scholar in the Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences at Michigan State University (MSU), in the United States. I am also an Igbo language instructor in the Department of Linguistic and Germanic, Slavic, Asian and African Languages at MSU. I am an avid researcher, a young entrepreneur, and a dedicated teacher with an open mind.
In a small village in western Kenya, I had my first encounter with farming. Farming was hugely defined by women waking up early every day, with a hoe and a machete, and spending a whole day physically tilling the land. The little inherited knowledge was enough to manage farms.
My name is Pilirani Khoza and I am writing from Malawi, in the warm heart of Africa. I have two years of working experience as a research assistant at Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR). In 2012, I founded Bunda Female Students Organisation (BUFESO), a student-led initiative with the simple goal of encouraging girls to become academically involved in the field of science and agriculture by providing scholarships to needy students.
My name is Laetitia Victoria Mukungu and I am from Kenya. I am a third-year student at EARTH University in Costa Rica, where I study Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resource Management. My passion lies in rural women’s empowerment, food security and child education.
In Ghana, the cocoa sector is at a turning point where it needs revitalization and modernization to make it more competitive, resilient and robust. Cocoa production is Ghana’s largest agricultural activity, accounting for 8 percent of the country’s GDP and supporting approximately thirty percent of the population.
For our 2017 Young Africa Works Summit, we chose a photo that captures the theme ‘youth driving agricultural transformation’.
The notion that Africa’s economic growth hinges on the modernization of its agricultural sector is not a new one. Academics, economists and practitioners alike have been weighing in on the “green revolution” in Africa since the 1970s.
The need for agricultural transformation on the continent, however, has never been more pressing, with a rapidly growing population, an increasing severity of impacts from climate change and a surge of public and private interest and investment in the sector.
The Young Africa Works Summit took place in Cape Town South Africa on October 29-30th 2015. I had the privilege to represent The MasterCard Foundation Youth Think Tank Team of 2015/16.