Pandemic Lays Bare Africa’s Deficits, but Youth Will Grow the Future

Pandemic Lays Bare Africa’s Deficits, but Youth Will Grow the Future

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on email
Email
Share on print
Print

Nteranya Sanginga

By Nteranya Sanginga
IBADAN, Nigeria, Apr 29 2020 (IPS)

Africa’s frailties have been brutally exposed by the coronavirus pandemic. The virus has reached nearly every country on this continent of 1.3 billion people and the World Health Organization warns there could be 10 million cases within six months. Ten countries have no ventilators at all.

Governments are fighting the pandemic with weak health systems where lockdowns are especially punitive in the absence of a welfare state. Many people subsist on daily earnings, living off the informal economy in densely crowded living conditions that make a mockery of ‘social distancing’. Collapsing commodity prices in international markets and capital outflows from emerging markets are hitting economies.

But so too Africa’s strengths are on display. Valuable lessons have been learned from past epidemics, such as the Ebola outbreak in 2014, and governments are responding with strict measures. Far from the stereotyped image of the Third World calling for help from richer countries, people are demonstrating their resilience, generosity, civic spirit and boundless ingenuity.

Africa’s young population gives hope too. With a median age of less than 20 years, the continent may suffer relatively fewer fatalities than other nations with more ageing populations. The pandemic is underscoring what many have cautioned for years – that Africa’s economies need to depend less on exporting raw materials and do more to tackle the urgent issues of food insecurity, youth unemployment and poverty.

Developing agriculture is key to addressing these challenges. Youth brings energy and innovation to the mix, but these qualities can be best channelled by young Africans themselves carrying out results-based research in agribusiness and rural development involving young people. Youth engagement is key.

As a research-for-development non-profit, the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) works with various partners across sub-Saharan Africa to facilitate agricultural solutions to hunger, poverty and natural resource degradation. IITA improves livelihoods, enhances food and nutrition security and increases employment as one of 15 research centres in CGIAR, a global partnership for a food secure future.

Throughout the pandemic, IITA is helping sub-Saharan food systems by monitoring food prices and strengthening access to agricultural technologies and markets..

Before the coronavirus surfaced, IITA had launched a three-year project known as CARE (Enhancing Capacity to Apply Research Evidence) to build an understanding of poverty reduction, employment impact, and factors influencing youth engagement in agribusiness, and rural farm and non-farm economies. The project was funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and provided 80 research fellowships for young African scholars, with an emphasis on young female professionals and students aiming to acquire a master’s or doctoral degree.

Grantees were offered training on research methodology, data management, scientific writing, and the production of research evidence for policymaking. They are mentored by IITA scientists and experts on a research topic of their choice and produce science articles and policy briefs about their work.

How is Africa going to feed a population set to double by 2050? As CGIAR says: we are at a crossroads in the world’s food system and cannot continue our current trajectory of consuming too little, too much, or the wrong types of food at an unsustainable cost to natural resources, the environment and human health.

Here in sub-Saharan Africa, agriculture contributes to nearly a quarter of GDP and smallholder farmers make up more than 60 percent of the population. Young people are finding careers in agribusiness and IITA aims to strengthen their capacity to inform future action plans for local communities and up to national governments, the business sector and international community.

Dolapo Adeyanju, a IITA grantee, illustrates how Africa is capable of generating more youth engagement in policy research, whether on policy, start-ups, agribusiness, development initiatives or leadership. A Nigerian national, Ms Adeyanju is a master’s student at the University of Nairobi working in collaboration with the University of Pretoria, focusing on the impact of agricultural programs on youth agripreneurship in Nigeria.

“Policymakers cannot operate in a vacuum,” she says, stressing the need for appropriate policies to be based on relevant evidence derived from research results and recommendations.

Development of effective policies will enable African young people who are already taking advantage of agricultural research to make a life out of farming. IITA’s CARE project will help make up for the deficit of youth-specific research, and the support of IFAD ensures that young Africans will have a voice in how they can contribute to this effort.

Africa was not well prepared for a crisis of this magnitude in COVID-19. Universities have been closed, borders shut, and trade has plummeted. The pandemic has exposed decades-long underinvestment in vital sectors, as well as demonstrating the importance of scientific and educational collaboration. The immediate focus will naturally be on the direct response to the disease in terms of medical research, equipment and health care. But as the pandemic pushes through, Africa must keep its eye on long-term development needs. IITA will play its role in equipping the next generation to advance agriculture and feed the people of Africa.

 

The post Pandemic Lays Bare Africa’s Deficits, but Youth Will Grow the Future appeared first on Inter Press Service.

Excerpt:

Nteranya Sanginga is Director General of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture

The post Pandemic Lays Bare Africa’s Deficits, but Youth Will Grow the Future appeared first on Inter Press Service.

You might also enjoy

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Get updates and learn from the best

Conférence de Presse en Ligne


Les frontières terrestres ne doivent pas constituer des obstacles à la dissémination de votre message. Grâce à notre service de conférence de presse en ligne, nous vous offrons l’opportunité de vous rapprocher des médias africains, chaque fois que vous en aurez besoin.

Nos services comprennent:

Digital Communications


Today, social networks constitute an organization’s first point of contact with a user and a potential customer. At first glance, you need to convince of the relevance and quality of your content to stimulate and motivate the user to go further. We create consistently inspiring online strategy to meet business objectives, engage stakeholders and enhance our client brand’s reputation internally and externally.

 

Communication​ digitale


Les réseaux sociaux représentent aujourd’hui le premier point de contact d’une organisation avec un utilisateur et un client potentiel. Au premier coup d’œil, vous devez le convaincre de la pertinence et de la qualité de votre contenu pour l’inciter à aller plus loin. Nous créons pour vous une stratégie de communication précise et adaptée sur les réseaux sociaux pour atteindre les objectifs commerciaux, impliquer les parties prenantes et améliorer la réputation de votre marque en interne et en externe.

Promotion​ d’événements


Le succès d’un événement réside en moitié dans sa promotion. Peu importe la beauté de l’événement, la qualité des orateurs et de l’ordre du jour, si personne ne rapporte ou ne parle de votre événement, vos efforts seront vains. Nous vous aidons à façonner votre récit et à créer un engouement autour de votre événement. De l’annonce de l’événement à la tenue de celui-ci, nous accompagnons votre effort de planification et le reflétons sur toutes les plateformes médiatiques.​

Formation​ Médiatique


Nous fournissons à vos porte-paroles les outils nécessaires pour présenter vos principaux messages et répondre avec confiance et cohérence aux questions. Notre formation est organisée soit à distance ou en présentiel, avec des études de cas réels et des répétitions. Nos clients repartent avec le sentiment d’être à l’aise devant les journalistes et d’agir en tant qu’ambassadeurs de la marque.

Veille​ Médiatique


Nous mesurons votre portée en relations publiques et rendons compte des informations de votre industrie et des activités de vos  concurrents en surveillant la majorité des canaux de diffusion dans toute l’Afrique. Une veille médiatique complète et opportune est essentielle pour s’assurer que vous ne manquez aucune référence à votre marque, que vous êtes constamment informé de ce qui se passe dans votre industrie et que vous êtes prêt à saisir les opportunités et à réduire les risques en temps opportun.

Relations​ Média


Peu importe le lieu où ils se trouvent, nous sommes une source d‘informations fiables pour les journalistes qui écrivent sur l’Afrique. Nous nous connaissons mutuellement et ils nous font confiance, car nous leur fournissons un contenu crédible qui les aide dans leurs tâches. Nous nous entretenons quotidiennement avec des journalistes aux quatre coins du continent, ce qui fait de nous l’un des organismes les plus efficaces pour mener des campagnes de relations avec les médias.

Stratégie et développement de contenu


Nous créons des stratégies de communication intelligentes, bien documentées et spécialisées destinées à vous aider à construire un récit fort qui engagera votre audience. Nous travaillons en synergie avec vous afin de rédiger des communiqués de presse et des articles d’opinions qui alimentent le récit de votre entreprise. Notre équipe a une expérience approfondie dans la création de récits et le développement de contenu multimédia.

DIFFUSION DE COMMUNIQUES​ DE PRESSE​


C’est le service phare d’AMA. Nous avons mis en place des canaux de diffusion des communiqués de presse auprès des journalistes des 54 États africains ainsi qu’auprès des journalistes américains et européens couvrant les sujets relatifs aux marchés émergents.​

​Nos services comprennent:​

Event Promotion


Half of the success of an event lays in its promotion. Doesn’t matter how beautiful the event is, how wonderful the speakers and the agenda are, if no one reports or talks about your event, your efforts are gone. We help you shape the narrative and create a drumbeat around your event. From the announce all the way to the outcome of the event, we accompany your planning effort and echo it through all media platforms

Media Training


We provide your spokespeople with the tools to present your key messages and answer questions with confidence and coherence. Our training is organised either remotely or face-to- face, with real case studies and rehearsals. Our clients leave feeling comfortable being in front of reporters and acting as brand ambassadors.

Media Monitoring


We measure and report on
your PR reach, industry news, and competitive activity by monitoring most channels in North, West, Central, East and Southern Africa. Comprehensive and timely media monitoring is critical to ensuring that you don’t miss any reporting of your brand,
you’re constantly informed on what’s going on around your business, and you’re ready to capitalise on opportunities and mitigate
risks in a timely fashion..

Media Relations


We have become an authoritative source of news for reporters writing about Africa, wherever they are. We know them, they know us, and they trust us for providing them with timely and accurate content that helps them do their job. We speak to reporters on a daily basis in all corners of the continent and this makes us one of the most effective agencies in running media relations campaigns.

Strategy & Content Development


We create smart and localised communications strategies to help build a strong narrative that will engage your audiences. We partner with you to create press releases and thought leadership pieces that sustain a drumbeat for your company’s narrative. Our team have deep experience in shaping narratives and developing media content.

PRESS RELEASE WIRE DISTRIBUTION

This is AMA’s flagship service. We have set up channels of distribution towards the journalists of the 54 African states, as well as to American journalists and European journalists covering emerging markets issues.
Our service includes:

Editorial advice

Localised editorial piece when needed

Distribution to the major print, broadcast and online publications along with industry-specific publications

Follow-up calls to secure interview request

Guaranteed distribution to Africa.com

Distribution to Bloomberg, LexisNexis and Thomson Reuters

Social Media Reach: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram

Full online monitoring and print monitoring when available. Includesreadership stats and Advertising Value Equivalent

Translation in French, Arabic and Portuguese available