Dutch Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Sigrid Kaag visited Niger last week to discuss entrepreneurship and employment. As part of her visit, AgriProFocus organised a lunch, during which the Minister spoke with local (agricultural) entrepreneurs and other organisations involved.
Challenges and opportunities for entrepreneurs in Niger
Niger is struggling with a high youth unemployment rate. Niger has proportionally high numbers of young people and many development sectors are left unexploited. Young entrepreneurs face multiple challenges, among which a lack of entrepreneurial awareness, limited access to tools and a dearth of development opportunities in general, especially for women. At the same time, there are many opportunities for entrepreneurs in the country, most notably in the agricultural sector as the area has a lot of agricultural potential.
The Netherlands therefore supports local activities by focusing on private sector development, entrepreneurship and education to assist the new generation with the development of the right skills and instruments. The AgriProFocus network, coordinated by Rakia Gazibou from Partners for Innovation, focuses on promoting entrepreneurship and employment for the youth and women.
Joining forces to stimulate entrepreneurship
The participants came up with concrete solutions to tackle the abovementioned challenges. For example, they identified the importance of fair competition between local and imported products, both in terms of price levels as well as packaging & certification. Entrepreneurship should be stimulated to join forces, so they can jointly step out and make a collective impact. The establishment of a ministry aimed at youth entrepreneurship could also make a substantial difference.
At the end of the lunch, the minister expressed her satisfaction and indicated that the Netherlands would support Niger in the development efforts to promote agricultural entrepreneurship, youth employment, education and water. Further strengthening of cooperation between Niger and the Netherlands is high on her agenda.