In May 2020, the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in partnership with Mastercard Foundation started the Young Africa Works-IITA Project, a project designed to advance agribusiness opportunities to over 40,000 Nigerian youths, especially to women. It focuses on providing skills development, decent employment and entrepreneurship opportunity for the youth to secure dignified and fulfilling work in agri-food value chains for the next five years.
The project is working with partners in various sectors;
The Young Africa Works-IITA project is currently seeking applicants within Kaduna, Kano, and Lagos, to build their capacity to be trained and work within the supported value chain of rice, soybean, maize, cowpea, poultry, vegetable, mushroom, groundnut, fish and livestock.
The project and training will focus on; Entrepreneurship and Employment. The programme has identified several enterprises and successful agribusiness models attractive to youths. This will guide the intended beneficiaries to produce a bankable business plan at the end of this training track. The Young Africa Works-IITA project has partnered with financial institution such as Sterling Bank, NIRSAL to facilitate access to sources of finance and credit. Access to post training support will be facilitated by the project. Employment Track. The program is aware of the skills gap between youth and potential employers, as a result, this training aims to better match these two interests. This will be conducted through commercial internships and mentorship in order to further advance skills development and find better jobs. Youth emerging from employment-track training are provided assistance to find decent jobs through professional placement services
The Mastercard Foundation is tackling the youth employment challenge in Africa. The Mastercard Foundation believes that employment is a leading pathway out of poverty for young people and their families. The Mastercard Foundation works with forward-looking organisations to provide greater access to education, training and financial services for economically disadvantaged people in Africa. As one of the world's largest private foundations, its mission is to advance education and promote financial inclusion in order to forge an inclusive and equitable world. The Foundation is based in Toronto, Canada, and has operated independently of Mastercard International since its inception in 2006.