A five Capital perspective on AgriEngage, a large scale Agripreneurship higher education and community outreach endeavor aimed at contributing to end poverty in East, West, and North Africa.


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Publication Details

Output type: Presentation

UM6P affiliated Publication?: Yes

Publication year: 2021

Languages: English (EN-GB)


Abstract

AgriENGAGE, cofunded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union, “aims at strengthening higher education institutions to provide excellent training programs in Agripreneurship and Community Engagement responsive to evolving labor market demands to stimulate agricultural transformation and enhance agricultural sector competitiveness” in East, West and North Africa (AgriEngage Consortium, 2021). The AgriEngage consortium consists of 8 African Universities from Benin, Kenya, Morocco, and Uganda partnered with 2 European Universities from Denmark and Italy. A key vector of diffusion of AgriEngage’s deliverables is the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM), a pan-African network of 126 universities from 38 African countries.

The end to poverty is the prime sustainable development goal AgriEngage adresses (Mshenga, 2021) in the region. The rationale for the inception of the AgriEngage higher education capability building initiative is as follows:

“Africa is in a jobs crisis, by 2022 the continent should create at least 122 million jobs. Sub-Saharan Africa anticipates creating some 54 million jobs by 2022 but the bulk of these jobs are expected to come from entrepreneurship and growth of small medium enterprises (SMEs). Agricultural sector in Africa offers many opportunities that can be harnessed to move a mass of people out of poverty but only if requisite investment is made to harness the opportunities that exist in the agricultural value chains. AgriENGAGE finds its relevance in the urgent need for agricultural growth and development to enhance food and nutritional security in Sub-Saharan Africa. The development of the agricultural sector will lead to improved livelihoods of over 80% of the population of Sub-Saharan Africa. Investments in agriculture over the years have focused on increasing productivity, but there is a recognition that productivity increase alone had not enabled many farmers to take full advantage of the opportunities and the youth were ‘escaping’ out of agriculture as it did not resonate with their aspirations. Accordingly, there is a shift in focus from productivity increase to agribusiness led farming.

Moreover, in the new agriculture private entrepreneurs, including many smallholders, are linking markets for agricultural commodities. Embracing market-oriented agriculture may help reduce poverty among smallholders in the world. This changing face of agriculture requires smallholder farmers to shift their focus to commercialization of agriculture and hence require special skills and competencies to adapt their farming systems, diversify their production, make efficient use of resources and respond to changes in the agricultural environment. Accordingly, universities that train personnel need to shift from emphasis on provision of technical agricultural production knowledge, to understanding of functioning of markets and how markets can work for the poor as well as linking different stakeholders along the value chain. HEIs are struggling to meet the new demand for skills include in number of people trained, quality of training programmes, and relevancy of skills offered.” (AgriEngage Consortium, 2020)

In the course of our Entrepreneurship Education practice (2006-2021), 192 new venture business plans for-profit and non-profit, as well as international business plans for existing ventures were assessed from the perspective of Capital creation (Idelson, w.p).

Our literature review identified fourteen types of capital in use in various areas of applied social science research on business activity and the wider economy (accounting, communications, economics, finance, human resources/organizational behavior, international business, law, management, marketing, operations management, political science, strategy).

We further argue nine of these are conceptually redundant and five dimensions of Capital suffice to comprehensively grasp, design, appraise, articulate, or orchestrate any venture, be it an ongoing or nascent concern, be it for profit or non-profit, be it public, private or hybrid, be it formal or informal. Extending Financial Capital (Marx, 1894, Schumpeter, 1962, Smith, 1776) beyond its Accounting roots, this plastic notion of Capital can now be understood to encompasses four other complementary dimensions: Human Capital (Pigou, 1928), Social Capital (de Tocqueville, 1840, Simmel, 1910-11), Cultural Capital (Bourdieu, 1979) and Natural Capital (Schumacher, 1973).

We propose to share in fall 2021 progress by AgriEngage made in S1 2021 and plan to continue to document from our five Capital perspective this venture over its 3-year span (2021-2024).


Keywords

accounting, agriculture, capitalism, East Africa, entrepreneurship education, law and finance, North Africa, poverty reduction, sustainability, West Africa


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Last updated on 2021-17-10 at 21:02