Tuesday, 2 September 2014

The "60 percent" game changers for youth in developing countries and the "golden egg goose": Power Points for the Youth

The Climate Smart Journey Has Just Begun...

I have been doing some research on Climate Smart Agriculture and the youth and I thought I should just share a few "power" points today on "why the world needs more climate smarts", like you and me. I have called them the "60 percent" game changers and the "golden egg goose."

The "60 percent" game changers

"As the world needs to feed more mouths, it needs to create more jobs; this convergence of events is making agriculture not only an option for youth employment and entrepreneurship, but a very viable one"
In my research I bumped into three 60 percent statistics that point to possible game changers for the youth in developing countries. I have summarized them in the phrase above and I call them the three "60 percent" game changers.

Food demand growing by 60 percent

Picture by Mabel Hungwe
First, it is estimated that agricultural production will have to increase by 60 percent by 2050 to satisfy the expected demands for food and feed.

Youth make up 60 percent of developing regions' population

Accompanying this first 60 percent, is the second observation that 60 percent of the population in the 48 least developed countries, most of which are in Africa, are under the age of 24, and 40 percent are under 15. Sub Saharan Africa for instance, is considered the “youngest” region though the majority of this younger population remains unemployed and their skills and capabilities under-utilized.

Not only 60 percent of the population, but also 60 percent of the unemployed!

Third, it is also predicted that 60 percent of the continent’s unemployed are aged 15-24 years  and about 40 percent of Africa’s workforce is under the age of 23.

60 percent of total marketed food in Africa is the local urban population

Transporting food to the market: Image by IFPRI

Fourth, it is predicted that 60 percent of total marketed food in Africa is local reachable market for these bubbling young agropreneurs.

Now for today, I will leave the food in the thoughts for the climate smart entrepreneurs to find the opportunities embedded in these "60 percent" game changers. But let me dash to the story about the golden egg goose before this blog becomes too long and boring!

The golden egg goose...

The late Dr Steven Covey narrates an interesting story in his book, "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People." The story which most of you might know, is about an old man who had a goose that would produce golden eggs. With much delight and excitement that grew everyday about the golden eggs coming from the goose; this old man eventually killed the goose to take more golden eggs "out of the goose." But we all know the unfortunate part that after killing the goose, he didn't find any golden eggs in the goose. In pursuit of the product, he killed the production capacity, the goose!

Now I will leave the majority of the food in this thought for the climate smart environmentalists, but here is a short line:

In our attempt to grow more food, feed more people create more jobs, we could easily get carried away with increasing the production, while we endanger our very production capacity, our land, people ecosystems.

This is why we need Climate Smarts, i.e. global citizens who are smart about the impacts of their present day actions to produce (P) on the resilience and capability of communities and ecosystems to produce more (PC)

Winding up...

In conclusion, the youth are the main "60 percenters", i.e. they are a central part of the subject in all "60 percent" game changers. Youth are the most critical respondents to the world's Climate Smart Agriculture challenge.In spite of the food security challenges the world may face today, the youthful population in developing countries can offer a growth dividend for these regions given their dynamic and fast learning capabilities much needed in a globalizing and digitalizing society and economy.

Future food supply relies heavily on the youthful developing country populations and it is clear that agriculture in these regions must transform to meet the increasing demands.According to the WWF Pan African Youth Strategy on Learning for Sustainability :
“it is the youth who will inherit whatever problems as well as opportunities that the current generation of decision makers leave behind, the current young generation is also better equipped and more motivated than previous generations to play a role now in accelerating sustainable development approaches.”

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