Kola Masha: How farming could employ Africa's young workforce -- and help build peace
Kola Masha is the founder of Babban Gona, the first for-profit social enterprise in history to be awarded the prestigious Skoll Award, due to its financial sustainability and highly scalable impact. The organization is part-owned by the farmers they serve. Full bio
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at the University of Sussex
in armed conflict.
of getting a coveted job
died that day, applying for a job,
for a few thousand open positions.
have entered the Nigerian workforce alone.
is under the age of 18.
in the next 20 years.
entering the workforce
in northern Nigeria,
most recently hit
brutal bombings and searing poverty,
to halt the spread of this insecurity,
as a job-creation engine?
in countries like Thailand,
the same economic challenges as us.
two million cars a year --
profitable small farmers,
of less than one percent.
the productivity of its small farmers,
to start to dominate
they attracted investment
like starch from cassava.
with investment in education,
to even higher-value manufacturing.
and follow a path similar to Thailand,
young farmers on farming.
discussion, we'll call "Saminu,"
that this would not be easy.
in northern Nigeria.
of playing for hours with his friends,
the beautiful rock formations
he would leave.
work so hard as farmers,
to pair with their hard work
most of it at fire-sale prices,
they could get 50 percent more.
that life was not easy.
more patches than tires,
would be ripped away from him,
who were not so lucky --
once they'd lost their motorcycles,
out to wreak vengeance
had turned its back on them.
they joined insurgent groups,
in bombings and kidnappings.
on their small farms,
to make a life for themselves;
has grassroot-level leadership,
and investment to scale
"great farm" in Hausa.
of our partners,
and triple their net income
to start a goat-rearing business,
are entering the African workforce,
having opportunities in agriculture.
through models similar to ours,
a year in financing.
it is a small number --
in the world today,
agricultural development programs.
that our model works,
in small farmers in Africa.
of young men across Africa,
ABOUT THE SPEAKERKola Masha - Agricultural leader
Kola Masha is the founder of Babban Gona, the first for-profit social enterprise in history to be awarded the prestigious Skoll Award, due to its financial sustainability and highly scalable impact. The organization is part-owned by the farmers they serve.
Why you should listen
At Babban Gona, Kola Masha oversees Nigeria's largest corn producing enterprise through a program that franchises thousands of mini corn farmer cooperatives across northern Nigeria, increasing the profitability of the smallholder farmers by three times above the national average. This dramatic increase in net income is accomplished by delivering an integrated holistic package of training, farm inputs and marketing services, on credit. Babban Gona has been able to deliver this credit while maintaining one of the highest repayment rates in the world, currently above 99.9 percent. The project was created to attract youth to agriculture and away from the looming instability of extremist groups.
Prior to moving back home to Nigeria, Masha held multiple leadership roles in leading global organizations, including General Electric and Abiomed. Upon moving home to Nigeria, he gained extensive public and private sector experience as a Senior Advisor to the Nigerian Federal Minister of Agriculture and as CEO of a subsidiary of the Notore Group, one of the country's leading agricultural conglomerates.
Kola Masha | Speaker | TED.com