Foresight for the Future of Youth in Africa’s Agri-food Systems
About the project
A foresight analysis focusing on the future of youth in Africa’s agri-food systems, conducted through a collaboration between Foresight4Food, the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), and AGRA. The initiative was made possible through support from the Mastercard Foundation. There was participation and guidance from staff of
the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). The analysis aims to support the strategies of development partners, government policy making, and investment priorities, including the Mastercard Foundation’s Pan-African Programs.
The project constituted a highly engaging series of foresight workshops and discussion sessions held in Mombasa in June 2023 with a group of 45 youth representatives and 12 agri-food systems experts from across Africa. These activities aimed to gain critical insights and perspectives on the potential opportunities and risks for dignified and fulfilling work for youth in the African agri-food systems. Click on the image to download Project Report (PDF)
Prior to the workshop, Orientation to Foresight for Systems Change online sessions were also organized. These virtual onboarding sessions aimed to introduce the foresight for systems change process, establish a shared understanding of the foresight analysis, and refine the research questions guiding the data collection.
Mathematica collated much of the quantitative data on agri-food systems and youth employment to support the foresight analysis and came out with a useful resource: Using data to explore agri-food system dynamics and implications for youth. The resource includes a compilation of data visualizations that provide insights into how national, regional, and global trends may affect how agri-food systems function, to uncover important implications for the future of youth employment in the sector.
Additionally, the workshop report is complemented by A Foresight for System Change Initiative Discussion Paper with additional data and resources. Click on the image to download Discussion Paper (PDF)
Most of Africa’s youth work in agri-food systems. They are involved in production, transport, trading, processing, retail, and food services. Some are farmers, others are micro and small-scale entrepreneurs and some are employed by larger-scale enterprises. Agri-food systems will remain central to dignified and fulfilling work opportunities for youth over the coming decades. This will be both directly through working within the sector and indirectly through the spin-off economic activities that can be generated, especially in rural areas. Despite challenges such as climate change, natural resource depletion, poor nutrition, and the exclusion of young women and marginalized groups that must be tackled in an integrated and systemic way, agri-food systems will offer substantial economic prospects due to population growth, rising wealth, and urbanization.
This set the context for the foresight analysis focusing on the future of youth in Africa’s agri-food systems. Looking ahead to 2050, the analysis explored the key trends and uncertainties that will shape opportunities and risks for youth in Africa’s agri-food systems over the next three decades.
The Foresight for the Future of Youth in Africa’s Agri-food Systems project reaped a number of useful resources.
The report contains a foresight analysis focusing on the future of youth in Africa’s agri-food systems, an explanation of the foresight method employed, a list of participating organizations and businesses, and key insights and findings from the background research and data analysis conducted.
The workshop report is complemented by A Foresight for System Change Initiative discussion paper with additional data and resources.
The resource includes a compilation of data visualizations that provide insights into how national, regional, and global trends may affect how agri-food systems function, to uncover important implications for the future of youth employment in the sector.
The level of energy and participation in the series of foresight workshops is perfectly captured in this interesting video.