The Agadez region is one of the main transit areas for migratory flows in Niger. There, the negative effects of climate change on agricultural production, which is source of livelihood for the regional economy, are the most evident.
As in the rest of the country, young people in Agadez have to cope with high unemployment, difficult access to agricultural resources and few professional training opportunities, often far from the needs of the markets. This situation together with the low inclination of financial institutions to grant loans to start entrepreneurial or income-generating activities, fuels the exit of young people from the agricultural sector and encourages their immigration.
To face the problem, the European Union, in collaboration with the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS), has funded the ReAgire project (Relancer l’Entrepreneuriat: AGadez pour l’Innovation et la cREation des entreprises), which started in 2020 and will end in July 2023. The project has been implemented by E4Impact Foundation, CIPMEN and the Université Agadez, under the leadership of COOPI.
In this project, E4Impact Foundation had the fundamental role to provide specific trainings on entrepreneurship, leading teachers and students on their entrepreneurial path. Specifically, the training of lecturers from the Université d’Agadez has been essential: the aim was to give them all the instruments to help their students on creating value and wealth to increase economic and local opportunities.
To achieve this aim, the Foundation has created an Entrepreneurship Center, based on the experience that E4Impact has had in Kenya, but also a digital platform to connect African entrepreneurs among them, with international companies and with African and international investors. This will contribute to strengthening the national and international entrepreneurial ecosystem.
This 24 months of work have given back so many satisfying results:
- 75 young entrepreneurs has been trained and led in the first steps of their businesses
- 25 enterprises has been created thanks to the project support and the funding from AICS.
- 13 teachers has been trained and 5 of them has experienced an internship in Kenya, with the aim of sharing best practices in entrepreneurship ecosystem building and incubation techniques.
- 30 entrepreneurs have been attending practical training on the agri-food value chain and capacity building together with 5 experts in mastering agri-food processing and valorisation processes, in a logic of integration of the actors of the agri-food value chain in Agadez.
Also, two digital platforms have been setted up to help the entrepreneurs on taking forward their businesses. The first is a learning platform, where entrepreneurs can find the tools to design, implement and manage a business. The second is a B-to-B platform for young Nigerian entrepreneurs to give visibility to their business and seize market opportunities in the African continent, in view of the entry into force of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
All in all, the project has been a success and we hope to see the immigration rate in the next years decreare, thanks to the impact created and the long term effects.