On a bus in Cotonou, Benin’s commercial capital, four Nigerian girls aged between 15 and 16 sit closely together as they are about to embark on the last part of their journey to Mali, where they are told that their new husbands, whom they never have met, await them.
Théophile Houssou, a maize farmer from Cotonou, has spent sleepless nights lying awake worrying about the various disasters that could befall any farmer, often wondering, “What if it rains heavily and all my crops are washed away?” or “What if the armyworms invade my farm and eat up all the crops and I’m left with nothing?”
“Poverty has become part of me,” says 13-year-old Aminata Kabangele from the Democratic Republic of Congo. “I have learned to live with the reality that nobody cares for me.”
Over half of the African continent’s population is below the age of 25 and approximately 11 million young Africans are expected to enter the labour market every year for the next decade, say experts.
Young people from across the globe gathered in Benin’s economic capital city of Cotonou to share their success and experiences in the agricultural sector with each other.
Young Beninese rabbit breeder, Samuel Agossou, inspired youth from across the globe when he shared his success story during the Global Youth Innovation Workshop held in Benin late last year.