By Kondwani Chitosi
Lilongwe, Mana: Malawi will host a two-day conference for African Agribusiness Incubators’ Network (AAIN) in October, this year, after a unanimous vote from African countries following strides the country has made in agribusiness incubation programs.
Confirming the news to Malawi News Agency (Mana), Chief Executive Officer for AAIN, Prof Alex Ariho, said the network comprising incubators from 55 African countries voted for Malawi to host this year’s conference.
“The AAIN 2020 conference held last October (in Ghana) voted to host this year’s conference in Malawi, considering that the country is more advanced in managing agribusiness incubation programs,” said Ariho.
He said the conference, which will be held in partnership with ministries of Education, Trade and Youth, will focus on opportunities that intercontinental free trade presents to incubators and accelerators in job creation and employment in Africa.
“During the conference, 40 incubates are also expected to graduate. These have successfully completed a three-level international incubation training based on the African Development Bank- supported Jobs for the Youth (J4Y) Program,” said Ariho.
Coordinator for J4Y in the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Charles Kanyinji, told Malawi News Agency that the country is prepared to host the conference.
“I am confident that the country will successfully host the conference considering the positive matrices that the country has made in agribusiness incubation,” said Kanyinji.
Kanyinji said the country, through ministries of Trade and Industry, Agriculture and, Youth and Sports, will share with participants from other countries key lessons learnt in Malawi’s history of business incubation which spans from the 1970s.
“Key lessons worth sharing are the importance of using flexible media to attract incubates; the advantages of using a multi-sectoral approach to incubation to ensure the success of incubation programs and, of course, the importance of coaching and mentoring incubates,” said Kanyinji.
Managing Director for Thanthwe Farm, Ngabaghila Chatata who is one of the eight incubators working in the J4Y and has hosted over 1000 farmers and 800 young farmers in the J4Y, said the conference will put the incubation agenda on spotlight.
“The conference will help profile the incubators among key stakeholders and help them gain more support for incubation programs,” said Chatata.