The President of the African Development Bank (AFDB), Dr Akinwumi Adesina, says the $280 million approved by the bank would be used to encourage Nigerian youths to go into agro-business.
Adesina, represented by Dr Chiji Ojukwu, a Director in AFDB, stated this on Tuesday in Ibadan at the African Youth Agripreneurs (AYA) Forum organised by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that forum was convened to attract youths across Africa into agribusiness as well as mentor them to invest in agriculture.
Adesina said with IITA training initiative and the financial support from AFDB, more youths would be interested to go into agribusiness.
He said that AFDB was working with 33 countries to give assistance to youths in agriculture.
Adesina said Zambia, Sudan, GR Congo, Cameroon and Nigeria had already been given necessary assistance in 2016.
He said that the bank was targeting 37,000 youths in Nigeria who would be given $50,000 each as support in agriculture business.
“The $280m that we have approved for Nigeria cannot be enough; we need $1.8 billion to accommodate the 37,000 youths.
“This is why we are giving 80 per cent of the money to commercial banks so that they can lend from their own balance sheet and we expect that every dollar we put in would generate five dollars,’’ he said.
Adesina said the programme was for young graduates who could easily be trained on agriculture.
He said that evidence had shown that youths could become the driving force of agricultural transformation in Nigeria if given access to the agribusiness enterprise.
Mr Ken Lohento, the Programme Coordinator, Technical Centre for Agriculture (CTA), highlighted various job opportunities in ‘Agripreneur’ which may not involve working on the farms.
Lonhento said that most youths were not aware of these opportunities, resulting in many of them shunning the agriculture sector.