Food University seeks to certify 100,000 students per year, facilitate the creation of 100,000 sustainable jobs, improve prospects for five million young people in the food value chain, and contribute to building twenty profitable, catalytic agribusiness hubs by leveraging $400 million in investment and development funds.
The Alliance includes ImagineNations Group, USAID, Laureate International Universities, MasterCard Foundation, DuPont, Nando's Peri-Peri, the Global 4H Network, BXR Group, Alwaleed Bin Talal Foundations, Aslan Group Africa, Agriterra/DECA, the Inter-American Development Bank, and additional academic, NGO and agri-business partners across Africa.
Food University will develop talent across disciplines related to the ?field-to-fork? ecosystem. It will deliver skills, vocational training, licenses, and specializations through a network of partners operating online, on corporate and university campuses, and through applied learning on farms, in factories and in communities across Africa.
Content and curricula will be sourced from numerous partners, including African Universities, US-based Land-Grant Universities and Agri-business partners. Laureate International Universities will serve as a founding implementation partner. Collaborative partners and investors in Food University, from all sectors, will ensure that the curriculum and program requirements align with the technical and life skills, agriculture, entrepreneurship, and business and financial management competencies required for employment in the food sector.
Students will be sourced from partner educational institutions with a food focus. Job placement and matching services will ensure that 80% of the graduates of Food University programs are successfully employed in skilled positions within nine months. Further incentives will come through philanthropically funded scholarships, corporate sponsorship of professional education, and innovative student loan programs funded by credit partners. Through on-site learning they will earn practical qualifications that will make them more attractive to companies that demand skilled workers and increased productivity. Central to the scheme is a ?learn while you earn? strategy through apprentices and other methods.
There will be a phased approach to establishing Food University. By end of 2013, the Phase 1, Strategic Planning, will be complete. During this phase, a detailed business plan, defined pilots, secured partners, developed metrics, and initial project structure will be completed.
Phase 2 (2014-2015) will focus on developing ?proof of concept? in Tanzania, Mozambique, Malawi and South Africa. During this period, Food University will launch and assess pilots, and deliver online and onsite training at affiliated campuses. Furthermore, it will develop curriculum for licensing, skill qualifications and specializations, and establish both back office systems and metrics reporting mechanisms. With operational support provided by Laureate, the pilot will test a variety of delivery modalities and methods, including five commercial farms, DuPont, 4H, and the supply system of Nando's chicken. Phase 2 will confirm the sustainability of the model, the employability of graduates, the satisfaction of employers and the economic and social return for communities.
In future phases, Food University will expand geographically, broaden its course offerings, multiply its affiliated campuses, engage additional corporate and agri-business partners, build management and governance, and launch a network of affiliated job assessment and placement centers that will be called Manpower. Food University will also expand the number of investors and operators working in Africa to adopt new terms and practices focused on improving the human condition of the people and communities within their value eco-system.
Africa has the potential to become a significant engine of global consumption and production. The continent possesses over 60% of the world's share of uncultivated arable land and by 2040 it will be home to more than 1.1 billion people of working age - more than in China or India. Reaching its potential, however, will require equipping its young people with relevant skills, appropriate incentives, and entrepreneurial opportunities
Agriculture represents 30% of the continent's GDP, over 50% of its export earnings, and nearly 70% of all employment. World food consumption will require at least a 70% increase in annual agricultural production by 2050. Yet some governments have disinvested in agriculture education. The education that is available today is often not based on market realities and does not adequately prepare young people for employment along the field-to-fork value chain, which is critical to achieving food security.
The ImagineAfrica Alliance is establishing Food University - an entrepreneurial, demand-driven, private and sustainable network of affiliated ?campuses? across Africa (e.g. farms, factories, universities, secondary and vocational schools and youth organizations) - all focused on improving food security through delivering skills and applied learning for every aspect of the food value chain in over twenty countries.
The concept has been developed based on extensive consultations, focus groups, interviews, and in-depth planning with a broad range of stake-holders in more than twenty countries across Africa and globally, including: employers, food companies, commercial and smallholder farming operations, universities, NGO's, governments and young people.
Food University is seeking implementation partners from the corporate, financial, NGO, and academic world as well as financial resources to help build the talent infrastructure required to support the ?field-to-fork? ecosystem across Africa. This includes content partners, universities and applied learning campuses, agricultural investors, banks that lend to MSME's, local development NGOs, and others in the food value chain.
Food University is offering a network of uncommon partners from the private sector, civil society, and academia to partners seeking to transform the food value chain in Africa and in its next phase, in Latin America. It seeks additional partners committed to working in fresh, innovative ways to improve the productivity, conditions, prospects and well-being of communities, workers, companies and investors.