Meet The Social Entrepreneur Behind Africa’s “Uber For The Farm”
By Willy Foote
Uber’s ride-sharing technology has become ubiquitous over the last 10 years, and its model has been adapted to everything from snow-plowing to dog-walking services. Now, social entrepreneur Jehiel Oliver and his organization, Hello Tractor, have demonstrated another use: fighting poverty and scarcity in Africa’s remote rural communities.
That fight is especially critical for the continent’s youth. Less than a quarter of the more than 350 million young Africans who will enter the labor force by 2035 will find formal wage employment. That demographic bulge could have scary implications for Africa and the world. Surging youth populations can easily push fragile nations to the brink, driving food insecurity, migration, and violent extremism. But, correctly harnessed, they can also offer an opportunity for accelerated economic transformation of the whole continent. Earlier this year, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs produced a report (for which Jehiel and I served on the task force) examining how the agricultural sector—the single largest employer of young people in sub-Saharan Africa—can be a key driver of this change.
Photo courtesy of Cecilia Schubert.