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Africa’s youth in agrifood systems: Innovation in the context of COVID-19

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, young entrepreneurs in agrifood systems in sub-Saharan Africa were already facing a number of challenges. The main challenges include limited access to natural resources, finance, technology, knowledge and information, and insufficient participation in policy dialogues and other decision-making processes.

The COVID-19 pandemic and its disruptions to agricultural value chains are presenting additional hurdles for these agripreneurs. Without focused and appropriately designed response interventions addressing their specific constraints and contexts, it is increasingly observed that some of the policy responses and measures put in place by governments to halt the spread of the virus are exacerbating the existing challenges that the youth are facing in engaging in agrifood systems.

For example, several formal and informal micro, small and medium-sized agribusinesses that employ many young people, have been forced to close or downscale significantly as a result of lockdowns and movement restrictions at national and local levels.

FAO, together with other members of the United Nations Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development (IANYD), has called for effective and safe partnerships with young people during and after the COVID-19 crisis to ensure that government and development partners’ response measures are inclusive of youth’s needs.

See the full list of policy briefs related to COVID-19.