• Session Name: Connecting youth-led digital innovations to FAO and Partners’ Programmes in Africa
  • Date: Monday, 07 September 2020Time: 11:00 – 13:00 pm  
  • Venue: Virtual AGRF Channel

Moderated by: Dickson Mbando Naftali, Head of Generation Africa 


FAO and its patners seek to create a “Digital Innovation Ecosystem” that brings together experts, young entrepreneurs, public sectors, researches and civil societies to find innovative joint solutions that address the global challenges in the food and agriculture sector. Activities that fall within this ecosystem include opportunities to engage young innovators to develop innovative digital services, development of mobile and web applications, and use of artificial intelligence, blockchain and algorithms. 

FAO manages a pipeline of more than 700 ongoing programmes and projects in sub-Saharan Africa – new ones are continuously designed. Through collaborative efforts between FAO, its partners and young entrepreneurs in the digital agricultural space, win-win solutions could be found in terms of sustaining and scaling up the different programmes and projects, but also in terms of supporting the youth-led start-ups seeking to build successful business models for their innovations.   

Across the continent, young agripreneurs are recognizing untapped opportunities in the agri-food sector. Yet, ideally, they would be fostered by a supportive ecosystem to progress faster and more successfully along their journey. The ambition of scaling tech-enabled, environmentally conscious, market-led ventures to deliver jobs and healthy food, while respecting the natural environment, can only be realized through collaborative efforts to educate, support and invest in young talent.

Session Objective:  

  • To exchange information on food systems development programmes of FAO and of partners in Africa as well as on youth-led agricultural innovations;
  • To discuss potential areas of collaboration and partnership in promoting youth-led digital innovations for transformation of food systems in Africa;
  • To provide a matchmaking platform/marketplace for FAO, its partners and young innovators.

 Key Messages & Talking Points: 

  • With growing populations of youth in Africa, coupled with the rising age of farmers, FAO and its partners can explore new ways to design and manage its agricultural programs in a way that meets the needs of countries’ shifting demographics;
  • Young people seek profitable, prestigious, and exciting career paths that will enable them to support themselves and their families;
  • ICTs offer one pathway by which young people can have successful and exciting careers in agriculture, and FAO — in partnership with governments, non-profits, and the private sector — can play a critical role in facilitating this pathway.
  • Technologies can help demonstrate to youth how agriculture can be a viable and profitable business opportunity, increasing the desirably of agriculture-related career paths, in lieu of alternatives youth might otherwise be seeking.
  • Digital agricultural solutions are now offering a range of important opportunities to address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic that the World is currently facing, on agricultural production, labor availability, input supply, and logistics.
  • FAO and partners need to strengthen efforts in further promoting youth-led digital solutions for transforming agri-food systems in Africa.

 Expected outcomes:

  • Strong awareness and understanding of FAO programmes and projects in Africa
  • Strong awareness and understanding of youth-led digital innovations for food systems in Africa
  • Partnership intentions
  • Concrete deals
  • Solid network of FAO and its partners (particularly the youth) in digital agriculture in Africa


Opening remarks 

11:00-11:10    The context, session objective and session format, by Ade Freeman, Regional Programme Leader, FAO/Regional Office for Africa

First Presentation

11:10-11:25    Opportunities for youth-led digital solutions in FAO-led Programmes in Africa, by Tony Nsanganira, Specialist, Youth Employment in Agri-food Systems, FAO/Regional Oce for Africa

Second Presentation

11:25 – 11:40    Supporting youth entrepreneurs in digital agri-food systems: CTA Legacy by Ken Lohento, Senior Programme Coordinator, Youth Agripreneurship - ICT4Ag, CTA

Experience sharing

11:40– 11:50    Two young innovators will briely share their experiences on working with development organisations, private sector; gaps and opportunities in those partnerships.

Interactive Q&A session

11:50 – 12:50    Matchmaking arrangements to be made in advance in consideration of participants’ areas of interest.

Closing remarks

12:50 – 13:00    Ade Freeman, Regional Programme Leader, FAO/Regional Office for Africa