Training Kicks Off for 40,000 Young People in Lagos, Kano, and Kaduna through the Young Africa Works-IITA Program Focused on Agribusiness

A practical session on cassava production
2 February 2021
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Mastercard Foundation

Lagos, Nigeria — The Young Africa Works-IITA training commences today and will  focus on building the capacity of 40,000 young Nigerian women and men between the ages of 18-35 years to become self-employed or gain employment in agri-food systems. The program will run concurrently in Kano, Kaduna, and Lagos for six weeks.

Participants will gain practical and theoretical knowledge by engaging with reputable agribusiness firms and mentors who will ensure they are exposed to the reality of operating a successful agribusiness enterprise. Agricultural value chains will include maize, soybean, rice, horticulture, sweet potato, groundnut, aquaculture, and poultry.

Capacity building is a crucial step in creating the next generation of agripreneurs,” said Project Training Coordinator, Evelyn Ohanwusi. “The mix of theoretical and practical exercises will position trainees to secure fulfilling jobs or establish their own enterprises. E-learning is a focus for the project to achieve wider reach and adapt to the global pandemic,” she noted. It will also promote digitization  in the agricultural sector.”

Because of limited funds and training, young people are hampered by lack of opportunities and access to the skills and resources they need,” says Country Head, Nigeria, Chidinma Lawanson, Mastercard Foundation. “Through the Mastercard Foundation’s Young Africa Works in Nigeria partnership with IITA (International Institute of Tropical Agriculture), we are empowering Nigerian youth and women while boosting agriculture across the country.”

On completion of the six-week training, participants will have the opportunity to start independent agribusiness enterprises, leveraging the project’s partnership with selected and reputable financial institutions to secure credit facilities.

About IITA,                                                                                                      

The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) is a not-for-profit institution that generates agricultural innovations to meet Africa’s most pressing challenges of hunger, malnutrition, poverty, and natural resource degradation. Working with various partners across sub-Saharan Africa, we improve livelihoods, enhance food and nutrition security, increase employment, and preserve natural resource integrity. IITA is a member of CGIAR, a global agriculture research partnership for a food-secure future.

About the Mastercard Foundation

The Mastercard Foundation works with visionary organizations to enable young people in Africa and in Indigenous communities in Canada to access dignified and fulfilling work. It is one of the largest private foundations in the world with a mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion to create an inclusive and equitable world. The Foundation was created by Mastercard in 2006 as an independent organization with its own Board of Directors and management. For more information on the Mastercard Foundation, please visit

Media contact

Young Africa Works – IITA project
Adetola Adenmosun
Communication Officer


Katherine Lopez
Head of Communication

Mastercard Foundation

Nonye Mpho Omotola
Country Lead, Program Communications, Nigeria

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