General News of Friday, 16 November 2018
Nestlé, a Nutrition Health and Wellness Company, has called on the private sector to increase its contribution in building the capacity of young people in Africa to take up leadership roles.
The move, the Company said, would facilitate their development and help achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Mr Fatih Ermis, Head of Agricultural Services at Nestlé Central West Africa who made the call during the 2018 African Youth SDGs Summit in Accra, said Africa had a declining workforce in agriculture with the average farmer being 60 years old and that the situation threatens food security and the continent’s journey towards zero hunger.
Under the theme “Partnership with Youth to achieve the SDGs: moving from Policy to actions” the meeting assembled over 1,000 young Africans, private sector partners including Nestlé, to deliberate on the development of the continent.
“It is therefore important for private sector to invest in young people and revive their interest in Agriculture,” he said.
Mr Ermis shared how Nestlé was helping over thousands of young Africans to become “agripreneurs” through projects under the company’s Creating Shared Value Approach including Nestlé Cocoa Plan, Nestlé Cereals Plan, Nescafe Plan, Cassava Plan, Feed the future and Nestlé Maize Quality Improvement project in Central and West Africa.
He noted that such efforts would help young people see opportunities in living in rural, which would eventually curb rural exodus and build a sustainable agricultural value chain.
Nestlé, Mr Ermis stated, had the ambition to help 10 million young people to have access to economic opportunities by 2030. The company had demonstrated that ambition through its “Nestlé Needs Youth” initiative, which offered training, knowledge acquisition and skills development through Graduate and Management Trainee programmes, Internships, and National Service.
Madam Marie-Josee Lukubika, Group Product Manager for Baby Food at Nestlé Central and West Africa, speaking at the summit on the topic “Young Women in Leadership: Experiences of Emerging young female leaders”, called on more private sector involvement and advocated for young women to be given opportunities to lead.
She noted, “Private sector has a role to play in ensuring gender balance by creating enabling environment for females. Young women are potential agents for growth and development. At Nestlé, policies are in place to provide women the support they need to help them take up technical and leadership roles and contribute to organizational excellence,” she remarked,
“I urge companies in Africa to provide young women with opportunities not only for their growth and development but as a means to help build thriving, resilient, and inclusive African communities.
“The Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that if women were given the same access to productive resources as men, they could increase farm yields by 30 per cent and this will reduce hunger in the world by 12 per cent – 17 percent.”
Emmanuel Ametepey, Executive Director of Youth Advocates Ghana and convener of the Summit, while commending Nestlé for partnering the second edition, said all the 17 SDGs were one way or the other connected directly to young people who were the future of Africa.
He said it was crucial for the private sector to initiate urgent steps to help young innovators, nurture their ingenuity and help them take charge of the SDGs.