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They have the ideas, they have the drive; why Sherie Silver decided to advocate for the rural youth 

We are always talking about empowering the young people in Africa in order to build sustainable development. We are always saying how important it is for young Africans to build growth and take this continent to the next level in the Agricultural industry. Sherrie Slivers advocates that the rural youth should be put in the forefront of this movement. 

With more than 60% of young people in Rwanda working in agriculture and its sub-sectors as their main job, agriculture has the potential to create jobs and income for this large segment of the population. 

And according to the latest survey by the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI), farming remains the single largest source of employment for young people. More than 50% of the rural youth in Rwanda are still working exclusively in agriculture today. 

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (UN IFAD) advocate for the rural youth, Sherries Silvers, says it is important that in every agricultural investment that is made throughout Africa, the rural youth be remembered as well. 

Sherrie Silvers was appointed as the UN IFAD’s advocate for the rural youth in 2019. The then 24-year old award-winning choreographer, dancer and actress was the first to be given such duties in the organization. 

At the time she urged different organizations and individuals to come together and invest more in the rural youth and the communities that they live in. 

In her recent visit to Rwanda during the AGRF2022 summit where she hosted the Generation Africa session, we had a conversation as to why she decided to advocate for the rural youth and also the important role that Africans have to play in order to take the continent to the next level. 

“With all the challenges that we are facing in the World and in the Agricultural industry, it is up to young Africans to solve the climate and food crisis problems that we are facing,” she said  

Sherrie continued to say that young people have what it takes to tackle these issues and that it is their role to ‘come up with more innovative ideas and efficient ways to farm, doing more while using fewer resources and just change the way that we produce food’. 

Silvers insisted on presenting the rural youth should with opportunities of getting funds and investments. 

“They have the ideas, they have the drive. As we have seen from the young people in these competitions [Pitch Agrihack], they have the ideas they are innovative but the issue is funding especially for the rural youth, they generally do not have that access to the funding,” she said.  

The Pitch Agrihack that Silvers was talking about was a competition that involved Agripreneurs from 37 African countries. Six youth-led agribusinesses winners of the competition were to be awarded their share of US$45,000 to invest in the growth of their ventures. 

Silvers used these competitions as an example to show how much the youth has ideas and innovations and how much the Agricultural industry needs these innovations. 

“As I said they have the drive, they have the ideas and that constant innovation is needed. We need governments and the private sector to step in as much as possible,” she said.  

She said that as the innovations and the ideas keep coming in, that the private sector and governments should also play a role in making sure that these young people have what they need and are getting the support they need. 

“We need governments and the private sector to step in as much as possible,” Noted Sherrie.  

“With IFAD, we go to the fields and meet young people. It should be done quite more by the government and the private sector. They should play a role in telling these young people in the rural areas that these opportunities are available to you,” she enthused.  

Sherrie also stressed the need for the young people to work together in the agricultural industry and keep bringing these ideas to keep pushing with innovations. 

“The way forward for young people is to keep going, communicate with the right people so that they can get the opportunities for funding. They should keep developing their ideas and make them more efficient and also raise awareness to other young people about opportunities that are available to them,” she said.

In her role as Advocate for Rural Youth, Silver will use her global platform to meet and connect with youth around the world and help campaign for the importance of reaching young people through investment in agriculture and rural communities. 

Straight out of Twitter