The transition to sustainable food systems both in cities and in rural areas requires innovative solutions and moving away from business as usual. Young people are full of compelling and promising ideas to change the recipe of our food systems, but to turn them into reality, they must battle against countless hurdles due to often weak youth-friendly entrepreneurial ecosystems that prevent them from accessing adequate finance products, coaching, and infrastructure to develop their prototypes.
This is the reason why for this #AfricanCITYFOODmonth, Rikolto has decided to put young changemakers in the spotlight. Every July, the annual #AfricanCITYFOODmonth campaign highlights diverse, innovative and evolving African urban food systems. The campaign is organised by the ICLEI-RUAF CITYFOOD network, a global network for local and regional governments to develop a strategic approach to their city-region food systems, where Rikolto is a member.
From Ouagadougou to Arusha, from Bukavu to Kampala, youth is one of the driving forces behind new inclusive business models that bring healthy and sustainable food to cities. This realisation has led the members of the Arusha Sustainable Food Systems platform to make youth entrepreneurship one of its 6 multistakeholder working groups to develop better support systems for youth to fulfil its potential.
In Ouagadougou, a new incubator named “Generation Food” implemented in partnership between the City’s Urban Economic Development Agency (ADEU) and Rikolto aims to empower youth to turn their ideas into viable businesses to transform Ouagadougou’s food system. In a country where 67% of the population is under 25 years old, supporting young Burkinabe to set up their own enterprise to produce, process, package or deliver food in a sustainable way can realise the double objective of achieving a decent income while tackling some of the key challenges in the food system.
At Rikolto, our core expertise is the facilitation of inclusive business relations among chain actors which we believe to be a key enabler of sustainable food systems.
Inclusive business translates into a fair and transparent collaboration between all actors in the food chain (e.g. through open communication, fair prices, risk-sharing), driven by a common goal, and leading to a stable market and a constant supply of quality food to cities. It is built on equitable access to services such as credit, technical support and market information; and is supported by inclusive innovation which helps make the chain more efficient and fairer, particularly for smallholder farmers.
We are telling these stories because we want key players in African food systems to see the value of investing in young entrepreneurs and to create an enabling environment for them to thrive and prosper. Because their success is everyone’s success.
We invite city leaders, food system stakeholders and urban citizens from across the continent to share your insights during the upcoming webinars. And follow more about the #AfricanCITYFOODMonth on Rikolto´s account on Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and the Facebook pages in East Africa, RD Congo and West Africa.