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Young Innovators in Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Development (YIELD)

YIELD logo

In partnership with the African Centre for Economic Transformation (ACET) in Ghana and Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) in Tanzania. Funded by the Alliance for African Partnership at Michigan State University.

The YIELD Initiative

The Young Innovators in Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Development (YIELD) initiative helps young entrepreneurs access and maximize opportunities in the rapidly evolving agri-food system in Africa through an integrated approach that combines actionable research with capacity building. The research component involves learning from experiences of successful youth-led enterprises, and documenting new findings about success factors and challenges facing young entrepreneurs in Africa’s agricultural value chains. The research findings in turn inform the design of capacity building programs to help youth-led enterprises increase their performance and scale up their operations. YIELD will also create a network of successful young agri-entrepreneurs who will serve as role models and promote entrepreneurship in agricultural value chains among young people in Africa. 



Africa faces a sizeable employment challenge. The population and labor force are growing rapidly, yet opportunities for employment are generating much slower. The gap between the number of people in the labor market and available job opportunities widens by approximately 8 million annually. Young Africans are disproportionately affected by the slow growth of job opportunities, and projections suggest that even under the most favorable growth conditions, less than a quarter of young Africans entering the labor force will find wage employmentMany young people will need to create their own jobs through entrepreneurial activities to avoid escalating challenges associated with unemployment.  

At the same time, rapid population, urbanization, and income growth are increasing the demand for food and agricultural products in the region. However, because of low productivity levels, Africa’s agricultural production systems have not evolved proportionally to keep up with this growing demand. Consequently, an increasing share of the region’s food demand is being met through food imports, which is estimated to cost $68 billion each yearAddressing the capacity and productivity constraints in African agriculture and food systems could accelerate job creation and food security.  

Unfortunately, agriculture is widely unattractive to many young Africans—an obvious result of the historically low profitability and drudgery associated with this sector. Those with interest in the agriculture typically lack the skills and/or access to productive resources to effectively take advantage of emerging opportunities in the agri-food system. Also, many of the youth-in-agriculture initiatives across the continent have neither been scaled up nor have they yielded their desired results. This is partly because much of the existing narratives are largely devoid of input from the young people the initiatives are intended to serve.  

YIELD addresses these challenges by learning from the experiences of young agri-preneurs through collaborative research, bringing together promising young agri-preneurs to exchange ideas and learn new techniques to improve their performance and scale-up their operations. Subsequently, YIELD will empower them to serve as role models to promote entrepreneurship among their young African counterparts.   


  • Agriculture, Food, Resource Economics, Michigan State University, USA 
  • Global Youth Advancement Network, Michigan State University, USA 
  • Africa Center for Economic Transformation, Ghana 
  • Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania   

Project Countries

  • Ghana
  • Tanzania