The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), has held a G20 Conference with particular focus on youth employment in rural areas.
The programme, dubbed “The Future of the Rural World Innovation–Youth–Employment” was held on 27th and 28th April 2017 in Berlin.
The participants invited were stakeholders from the world of politics, the private sector, academia and civil service.
A very important outcome of the conference was the “Charter of Berlin” which is aimed at creating new opportunities in rural areas for the next generation. Following a comprehensive public consultation process, the Charter was finalized at the conference and handed over to the German Development Minister, Gerd Müller.
The document will serve as important political impetus and guidance for decision-makers from the world of politics, business and civil society with a view to boosting their involvement in efforts to foster rural development and youth employment.
Nana Adjoa A. Sifa was the only Ghanaian entrepreneur who was invited to perform key roles during the conference.
She was also part of the young change makers in the world who helped to shape the charter in the run-up to the conference after it was drafted by an international advisory committee which consulted widely with other developmental groups.
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At the most important session of the conference, she was on stage with the Minister, Gerd Muller, and Nobel Prize winner, Prof Mohammed Yunus to discuss the charter. During the discussion, she emphasized what was important to her in the charter.
According to Ms A. Sifa, strengthening of educational systems with a particular focus on girls and young women was her priority.
She later joined the President of the Alliance for Green Revolution (AGRA) to present the charter to the minister of Cooperation and Development, Gerd Muller.
The German G20 agenda rests on three main pillars: ensuring stability, improving viability for the future and accepting responsibility.
The G 20 is the main forum for international cooperation among the 20 leading industrialized nations and emerging economies in the fields of finance and economics. The G20 nations are together home to almost two thirds of the world’s population as well as generating more than four fifth of global GDP and accounting for three quarters of global trade.
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“The future of humankind will be decided in rural areas. A productive and sustainable Agri food sector in rural areas of developing countries is vital if young people are to enjoy long-term jobs and income and natural resources are to be protected. In this way, we can eradicate poverty and hunger, reduce rural exodus and secure food supply.”
Ms Sifa also shared her perspective on why Ghana should focus on Agribusiness incubators and innovative hubs like ignite by Guzakuza.
“I have and will always advocate for capacity building of young entrepreneurs. So what really is important to me in the charter is the strengthening of the educational system with special focus on improving access to educational opportunities for girls and young women,” she noted.
Ms. Sifa said that was of much importance to her in the Berlin Charter. By putting premium on educational systems, she does not mean just acquiring the bachelors and master’s degrees; but adopting holistic approach to equipping young people for the changing market and the expansion of the agribusiness sector.
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In 2014, she had the opportunity to attend an entrepreneurship program in India called Kanthari. This 8 months program changed her story, she told citifmonline.com.
“I didn’t attend this program in India which is thousands of miles away from my home country because I had the luxury to attend. I attended this because I was given an opportunity. Kanthari gave me a scholarship which catered for my entire stay in India. I couldn’t have gotten this opportunity anywhere in my country Ghana,” she disclosed.
When she returned to Ghana, Nana Adjoa initiated a program similar to Kanthari with their permission. It was called IGNITE, also known as the African Women Agribusiness Incubation Program which is a six-month program that offers opportunities to young women in Africa.
It is a holistic approach to supporting young women who are already in the agribusiness sector and want to make a huge difference. It serves as a springboard for them to jump into the world fully equipped and prepared to run their Agribusinesses.
“The impact of Ignite is very evident in the businesses of our graduates from Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya. I advocate for more innovative labs and incubators in Africa which will support young people ready to cause change on the continent,” Ms Sifa concluded.
By: Kwame Dadzie/citifmonline.com/Ghana