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Strengthening the capacity of youth to carry out and benefit from responsible investment in agriculture in Côte d’Ivoire

03/05/2018

According to FAO estimates, the eradication of hunger and poverty in Côte d'Ivoire by 2030 will require additional annual investments of US $ 3.7 billion, of which almost 40 percent should be allocated to agriculture and rural development. To achieve this, investments should be responsible in order to generate sustainable benefits for all. This includes involving young people as key actors in the agricultural sector.

In this context, FAO, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Côte d'Ivoire and with the support of the Swiss Federal Office for Agriculture, organized a workshop on "Identifying the capacity of youth to invest and benefit from responsible agricultural investments in Côte d'Ivoire". The workshop was held in Abidjan from 10 to 12 April, during the 3rd edition of the National Youth Employment Week in Côte d'Ivoire.

The Ivorian government has already made strong efforts to promote the employment and well-being of youth, particularly through the development and implementation of its National Youth Policy and other national strategies. This multi-stakeholder workshop was therefore organized at a crucial moment for Côte d'Ivoire, as its results could contribute to inform current and future initiatives.

The workshop aimed specifically to: 1) create a space for multi-stakeholder dialogue to have a common understanding on the challenges and opportunities for youth to invest in agriculture; 2) carry out a joint analysis of the existing and required capacities to enable young people to invest and benefit from responsible investments; 3) produce an analytical report (after the workshop) that could inform existing or future initiatives, 4) employ and enrich a “rapid capacity identification tool”.

During three days, participants – from state institutions, youth organizations, young farmers' cooperatives, associations of students, financial and micro-credit institutions, etc. – worked together in a very participatory way to identify the existing and required capacities for youth to invest and benefit from investments in agriculture. The workshop was also an opportunity to raise awareness of the CFS Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems (CFS-RAI Principles), including Principle 4 focusing on the importance to "engage and empower youth".

Making use of the rapid capacity identification tool, participants analysed the capacities needed at the level of institutional and legal frameworks, at the organizational level, and finally at the individual level. The discussions between the different actors highlighted priority capacities to be strengthened through these three levels in the national context. The participants identified, for example, the importance of popularizing and making effective the land law, creating an agricultural bank dedicated to financing youth projects, strengthening the managerial capacities of leaders of youth organizations, and promoting youth access to productive assets and markets.

This workshop, as the one organized in Uganda or the one involving the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) countries, is part of a series of activities co-organized by FAO to enrich and refine a "rapid capacity identification tool" on youth and responsible investment. This tool, whose development is supported by the Swiss Federal Office for Agriculture, will be made available to stakeholders wishing to carry out their own capacity identification and analysis to enhance responsible investment in agriculture by and for youth.

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