CÔTE D’IVOIRE – The regional development finance institution Africa Development Bank (AfDB) has said it will avail more than US$1.5 billion annually towards agriculture in support of young entrepreneurs in the sector across the continent, the Herald has reported.

The financial support was part of its efforts to make agriculture more attractive to young people and commitment to an inclusive and youth-focused economic transformation agenda for Africa.

“These plans reflect the bank’s bullish view of the continent’s capacity to resolve its issues,” said AfDB.

“Attracting capital to programmes and projects will always be equally as important as galvanising Africa’s youth for positive engagement and value contributions to their societies.

“Africa’s youth therefore remain at the heart of the bank’s development financing efforts.”

AfDB said it was also promoting special economic zones across the continent to attract investments for industrialisation.

In June, AfDB president Dr Akinwunmi Adesina challenged the continent to stop being a poverty museum.

He said making agriculture profitable and “cool” for young people in Africa is key to lifting millions out of poverty and stemming migration to Europe.

The banking institution also announced that it will in November launch the Africa Investment Forum, a marketplace for investors interested in Africa scheduled for November 7 to 8 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The forum will showcase bankable projects, attracting financing and providing platforms for investing across multiple countries.

Over the years, AfDB has financed projects meant to increase youth participation in economic transformation including US$800 million it invested in supporting young entrepreneurs since 2016.

In November 2017, it launched the Presidential Youth Advisory Group (PYAG) initiative with an aim to create 25 million jobs and impact 50 million youth over the next ten years by equipping them with the right skills.

PYAG comprises nine members under the age of 40 who have made significant contributions to the creation of employment opportunities for African youth.

It is currently the largest effort going on for youth employment in Africa today.