The maiden edition of ‘Nyansapo’, a youth engagement forum which brings together young Ghanaians from diverse backgrounds on a common platform, to discuss and develop actionable solutions to the issues that confront them, has been held in Accra.
Nyansapo, an Akan phrase literally meaning “the wisdom knot” was conceived to bring together young intellectual minds to unravel the big questions in key sectors of the Ghanaian economy such as Agriculture, Digital Economy and Education. Nyansapo is thus a “gathering of great minds”, and an initiative of the Mastercard Foundation under the Young Africa Works strategy in Ghana, which seeks to enable three million young Ghanaians, 70% women, to access dignified and fulfilling work.
The maiden edition of Nyansapo, held to commemorate World Youth Day, focused on the ‘Opportunities in the agricultural value chain for young Ghanaians’ and was multicast in real time on social media. It had a diverse audience of young people sharing their comments and inputs as the panelists shared their experiences. One commentator expressed; “Mindset is important since more consumers are moved by great packaging which is mostly a deficit in the Ghanaian product.”
The forum brought to the forefront many challenges young people encounter in the sector and also showcased the numerous opportunities inherent in the agricultural value chain. The untapped opportunities within the agricultural value chain in Ghana that were discussed included tapping into the rice value chain for the production of rice milk, rice oil, rice wine among others. Transportation along the agricultural value chain, coffee and tea shops, moisture meters for farmers, creating access to markets for farmers, e-commerce, creating farming apps to enhance the productivity of farmers, vlogging and blogging in the agricultural space and quality packaging were other opportunities shared by the panel.
Emi -Beth Quantson, panelist and Founder of Kawa Moka, 100% women owned Ghanaian Coffee Company that specializes in the production of artisan small batch roasted coffee, highlighted the inertia of some young people to actually venture into the sector. They are desirous but are unsure of where or how to start. She encouraged young people to embrace the sector, fully utilize the opportunities available to them and to not be afraid to start small.
Nana Adjoa Sifa Founder of Guzakuza, an organization focused on growing a generation of agripreneurs added that there is little research on women in agriculture compounded by a lack of skilled labour in the sector. She indicated that opportunities exist within the sector to provide sustainable employment to majority of young Ghanaians when the various value chains are fully leveraged, coupled with a mindset change.
Relatedly, Nana Owusu-Achau, Managing Director of Agrokings, a full scope sustainable Agriculture production firm in Ghana, pressed for an empowerment of farmers and nationals, with a sense of pride for quality locally-grown produce. He also advocated for current policy on agriculture to be amended to provide a more realistic outlook for the country.
Nyansapo seeks to amplify the voices of young people and enable them to contribute to policy conversations in key sectors of the economy.
About the Mastercard Foundation
The Mastercard Foundation works with visionary organizations to enable young people in Africa and in Indigenous communities in Canada to access dignified and fulfilling work. It is one of the largest, private foundations in the world with a mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion to create an inclusive and equitable world. The Foundation was created by Mastercard in 2006 as an independent organization with its own Board of Directors and management.
About Young Africa Works
Young Africa Works is the Mastercard Foundation’s strategy to enable 30 million young people, particularly young women, across Africa to access dignified work. Africa will be home to the world’s largest workforce, with 375 million young people entering the job market by 2030. With the right skills, these young people will contribute to Africa’s global competitiveness and improve their lives and those of their communities. The Mastercard Foundation will implement Young Africa Works in 10 African countries in collaboration with governments, private sector, entrepreneurs, educators, and young people. The first phase of countries identified by the Mastercard Foundation are Rwanda, Kenya, Ghana, Senegal, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Nigeria.