African Development Bank has entered into talks with the University of Nairobi discussing ways of funding up to 10,000 graduating students nationally to help them pursue a career in agribusiness.
Dr. Chiji Ojukwu from African Development Bank, while speaking during a courtesy call to the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Peter Mbithi, noted that in order to reduce the high rate of unemployment, to help feed Africa and to reduce poverty, they have decided to fund recent graduates to the tune of USD 50,000 to help them start a career in agribusiness.
“Though rich in resources, Africa is still importing food that we should be producing and export mainly unfinished products, “said Dr. Ojukwu.
It was suggested that financial institutions could be leveraged to support the funding process of agribusiness entrepreneurs. Upon graduation, students will be trained for a year on entrepreneurship, marketing and given a chance to write agri-business proposals that will be funded by the bank.
On his part, the Vice-Chancellor welcomed the idea noting that innovation and commercialization of start up businesses has been the focus of his administration. The second Nairobi Innovation Week was given a boost by the government when the University was given Kshs. 100M to support innovation efforts and business start ups.
Going forward, a team championed by Prof. Stephen Kiama, the Principal, College of Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences, Prof John Kimenju, Dean, Faculty of Agriculture and Mr. Joseph Kinyua, Director, University Advancement will be part of the technical team working together with a team from the African Development Bank.