Generation Food: transforming Ouagadougou's food system

Generation Food: transforming Ouagadougou's food system

Setting up their own enterprises to produce, process or package food in a sustainable way can provide young Burkinabe with a decent income, while also tackling key issues related to the sustainability of our food system. They bring a breath of fresh air to the local food system.
This project is part of the following focus areas:

67% of Burkina Faso's population is under 25 years old. Young Burkinabe face many socio-economic challenges, including a lack of rewarding job opportunities providing them with a decent income.

In Burkina Faso, almost 80% of the population works in agriculture, but only 0.2% of them are trained for this. In Burkina, as in the rest of the world, young people are increasingly turning away from the agri-food sector and its low wages.

Setting up their own enterprises to produce, process or package food in a sustainable way can provide young Burkinabe with a decent income, while also tackling key issues related to the sustainability of our food system.

However, they lack the necessary support (coaching, advice and feedback, access to finance, equipment, etc.) to develop their business plans in order to make their business ideas come true.

Our approach

Rikolto, in collaboration with the City of Ouagadougou, sets up a Generation Food incubator aimed both at young people who have an idea for starting a business, and at those who already have a business and want to make it more sustainable and profitable.

This incubator will be a place where young, beginning entrepreneurs and people with experience and expertise will inspire and reinforce each other. Young women and men will be trained in all the skills needed to create successful businesses. This way, we increase the chances of success for these businesses.

Bernadette Ouattara Fundraising and Communication Responsible West Africa

The Generation Food incubation programme will run for two years and consists of the following milestones:

  • A two-day Generation Food hackathon, during which 60 participants will be divided into groups to work on new business ideas, related to sustainable agricultural production, urban and peri-urban agriculture, marketing of agri-food products, reduction of food waste, and sustainable consumption, ... Experts will be invited to share technical information and insights on challenges and opportunities on selected topics. At the end of the hackathon, participants will be encouraged to form teams to participate in the continuation of the incubation programme.
  • A six-month training programme which combines practical experiences, such as field visits and discussions with entrepreneurs, with hands-on training focusing on accounting and financial management skills, marketing, market analysis, inclusive business models, quality and social skills (leadership, management, networking, ...). 80 young entrepreneurs will, in groups, be working on developing a good business plan and business case and pitch it at the Ouagadougou Initiative" of the City of Ouagadougou.
  • In the second year, 60 young entrepreneurs will continue to go through the incubation programme. They will be put in touch with experienced entrepreneurs acting as mentor or coach, and can join in a follow-up trainings on entrepreneurial and soft skills. Rikolto and its partners will support them to reach out to potential customers for their products. In addition, the 15 best business plans will receive start-up funding for their businesses; and we will support them to explore additional funding opportunities by linking them up with other investors.

By giving young people the opportunity to put their ideas into practice, we stimulate innovation from the bottom up and show the food industry that change is possible.

Hamado Tapsoba Director of Rikolto in West Africa

Generation Food around the world

Generation Food is part of Rikolto's international Food Smart Cities programme. In different cities around the world, including Burkina Faso, Arusha, Leuven and Quito, Rikolto supports municipalities in formulating food policies and putting them in practice. In co-creation with universities, businesses, local food production/distribution initiatives, municipalities and farmer cooperatives, we develop business models (from farm to fork) that make the transition to sustainable cities possible. Through Generation Food, Rikolto advocates for the active participation of young people in shaping the future food system.

Pictures taken during a workshop directed at young West African entrepreneurs, hosted by the FAO, YPARD and Rikolto, in Senegal in 2019.


  • 80 young people, of which minimally 30 are young women, will be able to participate in the Generation Food incubation programme.

  • The project has a duration of 2 years, from September 2020 to August 2022, and a budget of €250,000.

Expected results by August 2022

  • 60 hackathon participants were encouraged to innovate and co-create business ideas ;
  • 80 young people have acquired the skills to start a business through the training programme;
  • 60 young people (including at least 30 women) are going through the second incubation year;
  • 15 new innovative agri-businesses have been created and have access to start-up funding;
  • A rotating fund has been set up to make sure that other youth entrepreneurs can tap into start-up funding in the future;
  • The Generation Food incubator is being embedded in the city infrastructure.

Agence du Développement Économique Urbain (ADEU)

the Urban Economic Development Agency of the city of Ouagadougou

Institut de Recherche en Sciences Appliquées et Technologies, Département de Technologie Alimentaire (IRSAT/DTA)

the Department of Food Technology of the Research Institute for Applied Sciences and Technology, located in Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso)

Gillès Foundation

"Stichting Gillès" is a Belgian family foundation

Bernadette Ouattara
Bernadette Ouattara
Food Smart Cities programme coordinator
+226 70 26 86 96