A good part of young Africans seek to immigrate to France, the United States, Canada, and other countries of Europe or America.
Regardless of the country of destination; provided they are outside Africa. Some find it difficult to get out of it. Many of them end their journey in the sea; the rest often struggle to get by for lack of papers.
Africa however has 60% of uncultivated land in the world; proof that the continent is full of wealth!
Young Africans want to be entrepreneurs in the agricultural sector. But the land, as vast and available as it is, remains inaccessible to these young people. This state of affairs constitutes a real brake both for the development of Africa and for the development of young Africans. This state of affairs constitutes a real brake both for the development of Africa and for the development of young Africans.
It is this problem that the organization Youth Initiative for Land in Africa (YILAA) is committed to solving through information and training. The show “Terre Africaine” is one way to get there.
The program “Terre Africaine”, what is it?
“Terre africaine” is a show launched by YILAA together with RadioTamtamin France. The program will reveal the wealth of the African land. The ultimate goal is to encourage young people to take their responsibilities and work to facilitate their access to land. It is therefore a question of going to the aid of young Africans and making their voice heard among African States, international partners, etc.
The first radio was held on the 19th of august 2021 and tackled the following topic: “African land: what opportunities for young people?”. Innocent Antoine HOUEDJI was the Félicité Vincent’s guess on the show. The Coordonnateur de YILAA, Innocent Antoine HOUEDJI had the opportunity to present YILAA and the activities of the organization he is leading. YILAA’s representative also talked about the reasons why youth access to land is still a challenge and some solutions to improve it.
The causes of the inaccessibility of young people to land in Africa
In reality, African lands are not as inaccessible as they say. They are only for young people who want to undertake for good causes, which is still a shame.
Multinationals are present on the continent to roam areas and settle there with the help of some people of bad faith who take advantage to the detriment of all young Africans. This is why Mr. Antoine HOUEDJI thinks that multinationals do not come to grab our land; it is we who give them the authorization to come and settle there in peace.
Not only do these multinationals sell off African lands, but they also exploit them with total disregard for African values. Thus, the lands which should be used for agricultural production while respecting the environment, become a point of provocation of climate change with all its consequences.
On the other hand, young people who do not have the means to acquire land cannot carry out their projects. And the longer the situation remains, the more the unemployment rate increases, and the more illegal immigration grows.
Faced with such a serious situation, it seems imperative to make a Break with bad land tenure practices and to facilitate access to land for young people. Antoine underlined it: “it is Africa which must win, and not one person or a group of people”.
YILAA’s actions for the benefit of young Africans
YILAA is an organization born from the desire of young Africans to be heard and thus to bring about changes in land management in Africa.
It is now represented in several African countries. Moreover, the organization’s coordination office is made up of countries from all regions of Africa: Benin, Senegal, DRC, Ghana, Mali, Tunisia, Niger, Burkina Faso. Faso. The network was made in such a way as to integrate the countries of the west, the east, the center and even those of the Maghreb into the organization.
YILAA’s actions are multiple and all have a single point of convergence: the development of Africa and the development of Africans. Among others of these actions, we can quote:
The International Conference on Land Governance for the benefit of young people in Africa (CIGOFA) . A high-level meeting which brings together the member countries of the organization, state institutions, universities, partners at various levels as well as young people interested in the initiative. It took place for the first time in 2020 in Cotonou, Benin.
The goal is to have a framework for consultation of all member countries in order to exchange ideas on each other and share experiences. Obviously, this will lead to a harmonization of land policies at the level of all these countries.
Faced with the question of the possibility of harmonizing legal texts in this area, the Coordinator of the organization replied that CIGOFA exists precisely in this perspective. All the more so since it is planned that during these conferences comparative studies of the legal texts of the different countries will be made in order to identify the points of success and failure at the level of each country. Needless to add that this will make it possible to correct the functioning of the legal apparatus in land matters in Africa a little.
The YILAA Training Center
It is an online training platform intended to train young people on the methods of access to land as well as its efficient operation. It is a question of avoiding conflicts due to ignorance of the rights of young people. The organization is already doing enough to facilitate access to land. But it would be pointless if interested young people could not use the land wisely. The trainings of YILAA Training Center therefore help these young people to efficiently use the land resources to which they have access.
The problems linked to the issue of climate change are becoming more and more accentuated, especially in the Sahara countries such as Mali. We must therefore think of a solution that allows the organization to carry out its projects effectively in all member countries. The coordinator says that reforestation will help to solve the problem of climate change and at the same time facilitate the implementation of agricultural activities.
The Tell Me My LAND project
Ten Million Young People and Ten Million Lands Against Desertification. Otherwise, Ten million young people against climate change, ten million young people for organic farming, ten million young people for the development of Africa, this is what the Tell Me My Land project is. Ten million is not a minimal figure, but Antoine HOUEDJI thinks that with more support, we could reach more people.
This large-scale project will consist of creating agricultural villages where young people work the land and take full advantage of it. Two countries (Benin and the Democratic Republic of Congo) are selected to lead the pilot phase of this project. It will then be extended to all YILAA member countries.
The project will benefit not only the farmers, but also all of Africa, which will therefore come out on top.
Support for the initiative
The initiative is good and the support is multiple and of various kinds, whether in the Member States or in the different regions of Africa.
According to the words of Mr. HOUEDJI, the governments of member countries which have already known YILAA actively support the organization in a technical way. Moreover, by way of example, CIGOFA 2020 was supported and very accompanied by the government of Benin. Also, correspondence was sent to States, through our focal points to further encourage the support of these governments.
The African Union and other regional institutions
The coordination of the organization is already in contact with the African Union and seeks to deepen the negotiations in order to further contribute to the “Youth and Land Governance” theme. Steps are also underway to integrate the organization into the various civil society platforms of UEMOA, ECOWAS, etc.
Access to these regional bodies will only facilitate the harmonization of good land tenure practices for youth access to land for the benefit of all African countries.
The other partners
YILAA Collaborates with several other organizations working for the same cause. These include: INTERNATIONAL LAND COALITION, LANSESA, CONADEF, UN-HABITAT, CADASTA, GIZ, NELGA, UNCCD…
What plans for the future?
The organization plans to focus on training. She has started, but she alone will not be able to solve all the problems. Félicité, the host of the program Terre africaine, adds by the Coordinator of YILAA, thinks that African education systems must be reconsidered so that we train less for gossip and more for concrete development actions. The training offered now must be used for the development of Africa.
Job creation is a crucial point. Already with the current projects, young people will be able to have free access to land. But, we cannot stop there. It is urgent to work for the emergence of new professions in order to reduce unemployment in African countries. Imagination and creativity must be used both at the level of young farmers and academics to allow the development of new professions in the agricultural and land sector in general.
In any case, whether we like it or not, with the pace at which things are evolving, new professions will emerge. It is up to young people to be ready to take advantage of it.
Opportunities linked to land in Africa
African land, what opportunities for young people? This was the theme of the program this Thursday, August 19 on Radio TamTam.
As the show gradually drew to a close, it was time to answer the question. In the current context where young people have difficulty in accessing land, Mr. HOUEDJI affirms that it is already an opportunity to be able to exploit the land for free. For him, “The land is the master of agriculture” and having free access to it is not negligible.
In addition, young people who invest in agriculture will be encouraged to develop skills and experiences in the field. They are the ones who will feed millions of people tomorrow with their productions.
Young agricultural entrepreneurs of today will become employers tomorrow. Through them, thousands or even millions of jobs will emerge.
“So young Africans have everything to gain from it”, was the conclusion of the Coordinator of the Youth Initiative for Land in Africa (YILAA).