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The African Development Bank and the Government of Sudan, in collaboration with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), launched the ENABLE Youth Program in Sudan on Thursday, March 2, 2017.
The AfDB Board approved the ENABLE Youth program on November 28, 2016 with total cost estimated at US $32.3 million. The AfDB is contributing 90.1% of the project cost, while the Government of Sudan is contributing the remaining 9.9%. The program objective is to create business opportunities and decent employment for young women and men along priority agricultural value chains. It will be implemented in nine Youth Agribusiness Incubation Centers (YABICs) in five states. The program is expected to train and empower about 2,000 “Agripreneurs” (with 2,000 new agriculture-related businesses of which 50% will be owned by women). Each of these Agripreneurs is expected to employ on average five other support workers, generating about 12, 000 direct jobs (6,000 of them for women) in the first five years.
The ceremony was presided over by Sabri Al-Daw Bakhit Ahmed, State Minister of Agriculture and Forests; Abdul Kamara, AfDB Sudan Country Office Manager; and Victor Manyong, IITA Regional Director for East Africa; in the presence of Jennet Kem, UN Women Country Representative in Sudan. The event was attended by several Government officials, including officials of the beneficiary states, representatives from the private sector, and institutions that lend to agriculture.
In his opening remarks, the Minister expressed his appreciation to the Bank for funding the program. He also underscored the Government of Sudan’s commitment to promoting youth participation in agriculture and agri-business as a means of attaining food security, jobs creation and GDP growth. The Minister commended the Bank for other interventions and initiatives in the country.
For his part, the AfDB’s Country Manager for Sudan assured the Government of the Bank’s continued support to Sudan’s development agenda as depicted in the Economic Reform Program, which aims to diversify the economy away from oil to agriculture and other sectors. Kamara also highlighted the pace and progress of the Bank’s High 5 priority areas of focus for accelerating Africa’s economic transformation: Light up and power Africa, Feed Africa, Industrialize Africa, Integrate Africa and Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa. He stated that ENABLE Youth Sudan Program is one of Bank’s Feed Africa Strategy (2016–2025) flagships aimed at bringing African youth into agriculture and agribusiness.
In the same spirit, Manyong, IITA Regional Director for the East Africa Region, thanked AfDB for not only funding this program, but also for being a strategic partner. He pointed out that the framework of the ENABLE Youth Sudan is based on the IITA Youth Agripreneurs model started in Nigeria in 2012 and which has since been piloted in several African countries. IITA will provide technical assistance and backstopping services to the program implementation team.
Following the official launching of the program, experts from the African Development Bank and IITA conducted a two-day technical training for the project implementation team, to acquaint them with the Bank’s procurement, disbursement and financial management processes as well as the IITA’s role in program implementation.