What is the secret behind the successful agri-business youth entrepreneurs in Zambia?

By Stephen Kabwe and Henry Machina

  • Understanding the main drivers of having successful youth in agri-business and the challenges they face is key in addressing youth unemployment in Zambia.
  • The key aspects that facilitate youth to venture into an agri-business enterprise include, social/economic factors such as education/training, income, social supports, and personal realization that in entrepreneurship one can still achieve his or her vision.
  • Personal traits (such as an individual’s passion, hard work, and financial discipline) and enablers (such as access to finance, social support, an enabling environment, and Information Communication Technologies (ICT)) are key for youth agri-business entrepreneurs’ success.
  • Despite being successful, youth agri-business entrepreneurs still face challenges. Among them include lack of adequate capital, poor feeder roads in the rural areas, inadequate implementation of the e-vouchers, and inadequate provision of extension services.
  • The government and the private sector need to maximise the conditions that enable youth agri-business entrepreneurs to succeed. This includes linking them to financial institutions and making sure the ministries and all governments departments that have resources youth could tap from should do so in an efficient and effective manner. Government should also budget adequate funds and release them on time to the ,ministries mandated to provide quality extension services.
  • Educating potential youth agri-business entrepreneurs in relevant business skills such as accounting, ICT, and insurance beyond merely school-based education can meaningfully contribute to their success.
  • There is a need to mentor youth agri-business entrepreneurs through a pairing scheme arrangement where new youth agri-business entrepreneurs are paired with existing successful businesses in various sectors for them to learn. Ministry of Youth, and Sport and Child Development should spearhead this.
  • Finally, there is a need to have a deliberate programme of identifying potential youth agri-business entrepreneurs with viable business enterprises and help them have access to some key enabling factors such as finance/capital, which is a key hindrance to youth participation in businesses. Some of those identified should also be linked to the banks or credit schemes willing to lend capital to support them.

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