The African Development Bank ( recently wrapped up a three-day workshop in Nairobi, Kenya, aimed at enhancing its Empowering Novel Agri-Business-Led Employment (ENABLE) Youth Program in preparation for its next phase.

African Development Bank
African Development Bank

The ENABLE Youth program assists young African men and women in accessing financing to expand their enterprises.

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Currently operational in 15 countries with investments exceeding $490 million and benefiting around 40,000 youths, the program has proven to be a transformative force in promoting entrepreneurship and addressing youth unemployment.

Conducted from April 3rd to April 5th, 2024, the workshop provided an opportunity for Bank staff to evaluate the program’s progress and draw valuable lessons for future initiatives in the Regional Member Countries.

Approximately 45 participants attended, including Bank staff overseeing ENABLE Youth projects, government officials coordinating the projects, beneficiary youth agripreneurs, and development and private sector partners.

In her opening remarks, Ms. Nnenna Nwabufo, Director General for East Africa at the African Development Bank, emphasized the crucial role of youth in advancing agriculture in Africa.

Nwabufo stated: “Africa has the potential to feed itself, yet we are importing food from outside the continent. Through empowering Africa’s youth, the Program is changing that narrative. The Program has demonstrated its ability to catalyze economic growth, create opportunities for young Africans, and drive sustainable development.”

Millicent Omukaga, Principal Policy Analyst at the Bank, underscored the importance of skills development and job creation in leveraging Africa’s demographic dividend. She called for renewed emphasis on entrepreneurship and private-sector engagement in the program’s future expansions.

Dr. Martin Fregene, Director for Agriculture and Agro-industry at the Bank, emphasized the role of agriculture in unlocking Africa’s economic potential and empowering its youth. “By equipping them with the necessary skills, technologies, resources, and support, we can harness the demographic dividend and transform the agricultural sector to make it more efficient and competitive, thereby becoming a driver of inclusive growth and prosperity,” Fregene said.

Dr. Damian Ihedioha, Manager for Agro-Industry and Agribusiness, stressed the importance of addressing the multifaceted challenges faced by youth agripreneurs. “Moving forward, we must adopt holistic approaches that address barriers to entry, access to finance, and market linkages to ensure the sustained success of our youth-led agribusiness ventures,” he reiterated.

Edson Mpyisi, Chief Financial Economist and ENABLE Youth Coordinator, highlighted the collaborative nature of the program’s success, emphasizing the need for strengthened partnerships and collective action to maximize its impact.

The workshop concluded with a commitment to continue fostering an enabling ecosystem for youth empowerment, incubation, access to finance, and digitalization to drive sustainable development across the continent.