There is no aorta of doubt; EyeAfrica is living its dreams! EyeAfrica, acronym for (Emerging Young Entrepreneurs in Africa), a non-government organization; managed, powered, and sponsored by exceptional Nigerians who could not turn a blind eye to the precarious fate of the African youth.
Its founders made a giant stride effort in the establishment of the organization by hosting its inauguration ceremony, a virgin edition for the first set of participants in Nasarawa State University on the 15th of February after which a forum began between the students and some notable figures who have recorded success in Agripreneurship.
The founders of EyeAfrica identified a need for developing Agripreneurship in Africa. Agriculture forms the backbone of the economy of most developed nations, and plays a pivotal role in the evolution of the world. The vision is to see to the transformation of Africa into an ‘agriculture-dominated’ continent thereby providing employment for a good number of the total work force, and contribute to the economic progress of the country.
In view of this, the Government of nations has been giving increasing importance to the development of agriculture. That agriculture has developed over the years is reflected by various indicators such as increasing productivity, cropping intensity, high-yielding variety seeds, diversification, mechanization, and modernization of agriculture. Statistics has it that 10 million youth enter Africa’s labour market annually. (Youth is literally defined as people between the ages of 15 (exclusive) and 35 (inclusive), with unemployment on the ever-increasing percentage. This is exactly what Youth Agripreneurship is about).
After the inauguration, the second phase of the EYEAfrica programme was a student forum, where the first lucky set of registered trainees were introduced to agribusiness and its benefits to the country. This forum was significant as the students were given a voice to air their opinions and satisfy their curiosity about the challenges facing the agricultural sector and how useful they can be to themselves and the society. Speaking, Mr, Isaiah Bulus (Co-founder, Emerging Young Entrepreneur) encouraged the participants on various ways to promote the agricultural value chain. The occasion was graced with the presence of Mr. Peter Ajipaiye from FADAMA who spoke on various aspects of agricultural value chain. Going further in the occasion, a business plan competition was announced to take place among the first 40 participants at the inaugural event, the first three successive winners will be placed on one year probation after which financial support will be given to enable them actualize their business plans.
Dr Abubakar (Co-founder, Emerging Young Entrepreneur) informed the participants at the EYEAfrica forum about the scheduled inaugurations which has been slated to hold in 12 higher institutions, two in each of the geopolitical zones, at different times in the year across Nigeria, adding that the EYE forum partnered the Entrepreneurship Development Centre (EDC), Nasarawa State University, Keffi.
Speaking earlier, Co-founder, Abubakar Abdullahi, said “EYE aims at inspiring a generational shift and quantum leap in Agriculture businesses by empowering students of institutions of higher learning across Africa with the knowledge and tools needed to start, run and grow successful businesses along the agricultural value chain”.
The Vice-Chancellor, Nasarawa State University, Keffi, Prof. Muhammad Mainoma, ably represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academics, Prof. Fodio Inuwa Musa stated that many graduates are jobless in Nigeria today largely because of the relentlessly dogmatic Nigerian ideological thought pattern of an average Nigerian parent or guardian for their children or ward, that a professional university course upon completion will translate into an automatic professional meal ticket. He reiterated “over time it has been discovered that parents and guardians have been under pressure, thinking of the courses their wards would study and come out to catch the so called white-collar or government job.”
Prof. Mainoma said “certain courses are under severe pressure, whereas others, especially and regrettably those tailored towards self-reliance, are neglected. This is a very wrong approach, and it explains to a very large extend why many graduates are out there jobless and cannot help themselves after leaving school”.
He asserts that entrepreneurship is no longer a matter of choice but the way to go “to get our youths, not only gainfully employed, but also employers of labour who would contribute to the development of the country instead of being idle and contributing to its destruction as we can see in the incessant cases of various forms of crime being perpetrated by them today”.
Speaking, Co-founder and National Coordinator of EYE, Dr (Mrs) Hauwa Lamino Abubakar, elucidated on the mission of the organization, she said the programme was born out of an arousing interest to see to it that the African youth can innovatively explore the agripreneurial ecosystems and the benefits associated with it. This resulted in a spawn of a new entrepreneurship movement, EYEAfrica, which has committed itself to the boost of enterprising and agripreneurial mindset in the African youth. She purports, “the plan is to catch them young at school, instead of allowing them to finish school and begin endless and hopeless search for government job, and when it does not come, constitute nuisance to society.
The program was sealed with a row of photography, capturing the bask of enthusiasm, joy and excitement expressed by all attendees: the students and high profile guests at the occasion.