NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--As a part of a global effort to promote food security and agricultural development in Africa, the Food University initiative was launched yesterday by the ImagineAfrica Alliance and President Bill Clinton at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting. The Food University initiative is anticipated to be a game-changing approach to creating sustainable jobs and a skilled workforce across Africa’s food value chain.
Food University is the first-ever pan African initiative that seeks to develop a robust talent infrastructure by matching the supply and demand of skills, providing applied educational opportunities, and uniting the efforts of the private, public and civil society sectors. Food University is an initiative of the ImagineAfrica Alliance. Initial partners supporting the ImagineAfrica Alliance and Food University include: ImagineNations Group, 4-H programs across Africa, DuPont, USAID, Laureate International Universities, The MasterCard Foundation, Nando’s Peri-Peri, BXR Group, Aslan Group Africa, BridgeLeader Network, DECA, Malawi Mangoes and the Inter-American Development Bank.
Through Food University, the ImagineAfrica Alliance plans to provide education and training for one million students over the next ten years. This new “field-to-fork” approach will help ensure a skilled workforce across the food value chain, including production, manufacturing and distribution to support farms, industry and whole communities. Food University will be a vibrant and growing network of affiliated “campuses” across Africa, including farms, youth organizations, schools, universities and other settings. Through online education, apprenticeships and classroom learning, it will develop talent across all disciplines related to the food value chain, from agriculture, to business, finance, management, entrepreneurship and other technical skills through a “learn while you earn” curriculum.
“We are honored to be here with President Clinton to launch this critically needed effort designed to ensure that Africa’s current and future generations are equipped with the skills, resources and opportunities to successfully participate in the food and agricultural sectors,” said Rick Little, founder and CEO of ImagineNations Group. “It is estimated that world food consumption will require a 70% increase in annual agriculture production by 2050. With 60% of the world’s share of uncultivated arable land, Africa offers a real solution to this challenge. This commitment helps galvanize diverse partners across Africa and other parts of the world to make this vision a reality.”
The Alliance is launching pilot campuses over the next two years in Mozambique, Malawi, South Africa and Tanzania. Over the next ten years, the Alliance will leverage investment, philanthropic and development funds to educate a million students and contribute to building 20 responsible agribusiness communities that will have a far-reaching impact by providing improved access to essential community services, including health, education, financial services, clean water and sanitation.
The ImagineAfrica Alliance has built a platform of engagement and support from many leaders across Africa. “I have been thrilled to participate in the dreaming and designing of Food University,” said Dr. Ruth Oniang'o, editor-in-chief of the African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development, and Chair of the Rural Outreach Programme in Kenya. “This innovative initiative will play a critical role in developing the leaders, entrepreneurs and talent we need for a food-secure Africa.”
The ImagineAfrica Alliance is a public-private partnership of corporations, academia, NGO’s, government agencies and investors. With the collective interest and resources of such a group, coupled with the magnitude of this initiative, the Alliance hopes to unleash the huge productive and prosperity-inducing potential of agriculture in Africa.
For more information, please visit www.imagineafricaalliance.org.
About the ImagineAfrica Alliance
The ImagineAfrica Alliance is nurturing a new generation of Africans who are prepared to succeed, engaged in decent work, and actively pursuing their dreams. Our mission is to provide workers, farmers, and young people with the skills, incentives and opportunities they need to succeed, while also helping investors and commercial operators maximize their social and financial returns across the agriculture and food value ecosystem. The ImagineAfrica Alliance is a unique network of African and international partners (private, public, and civil society) committed to working together toward achieving these goals.
About the Clinton Global Initiative
Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), an initiative of Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation, convenes global leaders to create and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. CGI Annual Meetings have brought together more than 150 heads of state, 20 Nobel Prize laureates, and hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations and NGOs, major philanthropists, and members of the media. To date CGI members have made more than 2,300 commitments, which are already improving the lives of more than 400 million people in over 180 countries. When fully funded and implemented, these commitments will be valued at $73.5 billion.