ECOBANK, through a collaboration with the Nigeria-based CGIAR centre, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), will provide training and support services to 16,000 youths in Nigeria.
This collaborative initiative, known as Youth Empowerment and Capacity Building in Agribusiness, targets youth between the ages of 18 and 40 across Nigeria in aquaculture, horticulture, poultry and value addition.
A statement from the bank said the collaboration is an outcome of discussions from the Investment Network Forum organised by the IITA Youth in Agribusiness office to increase investment and financing opportunities for startups and established agribusinesses.
Banks and financial institutions often look at youths and their agribusinesses as a high-risk group. However, Ecobank champions youth agribusiness financing and will partner with IITA to provide additional streams of funding. This collaboration presents a good milestone towards developing agribusiness financing models and products geared at youth-led agricultural enterprises.
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IITA, through its technical capacity and experience, will expose the youths to the latest innovations across the focus value chain. The training opportunities will provide them with agribusiness skills, which would help them to develop bankable business plans for funding through a credit product that will be developed by Ecobank.
This will allow them to develop technical and soft skills to successfully run their businesses, reduce risks and increase chances of success. The project would be implemented through three components: sensitisation through value chain-focused training, practical training and access to markets and finance.
The three components will follow strict selection criteria to ensure that only committed and serious agripreneurs are selected.
Interested applicants are expected to visit the website of both institutions for further information.
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