Data-Driven Foresight Analysis of African Agri-Food Systems and Youth Employment


Project Overview


To highlight opportunities and investigate potential challenges to supporting youth employment in agri-food systems in Africa, Mathematica used secondary data sources to analyze and visualize factors that influence agri-food system and employment outcomes.

Project Motivation

Ensuring that Africa’s youth have rewarding employment options in the agriculture sectors requires diagnosing trends and forecasting threats affecting both employment and agri-food systems. Mathematica’s ability to process large and disparate volumes of data generated insights that can help direct investments and policy to improve youth opportunities in agri-food systems.

Partners in Progress

  • Systemic Link Consulting 
  • Athari Advisory Services (AAS)

Prepared For

Mastercard Foundation

Mathematica’s analysis and visualization of historic and projected trends in African agri-food systems is helping our partners understand key systemic factors and work to provide tomorrow’s youth with high-quality employment opportunities in agri-food systems.

Agri-food systems (AFS), an enormous driver of economies in sub-Saharan Africa, provide significant livelihood opportunities for young people in Africa. The future of these opportunities faces many uncertainties stemming from climate change, geopolitical tensions, technological advances, urbanization, globalization, and other economic and demographic shifts. To help African AFS decision-makers ensure that tomorrow’s agri-food systems continue to provide high-quality economic opportunities for youth, Mathematica partnered with Systemic Link Consulting (SLC) and Athari Advisory Services (AAS) to produce a use case of data-driven foresight analytics.


Data Driven Foresight Analysis of African Agri-Food Systems and Youth Employment 

Mathematica gathered, analyzed, and visualized data to provide AFS decision-makers with answers to the following questions: 

  • What will be the rural youth employment demands over the coming decades? 
  • How are employment patterns across different sectors in Africa’s economies likely to change, given different trajectories of economic development?
  • What are the likely mega-trends and uncertainties for Africa’s agri-food systems by 2050, and what are the implications for employment? 

Using secondary data from over 15 sources, we visualized historic and projected trends in domains that drive agri-food systems, including population growth, employment, agricultural production, urbanization, international and regional trade, technology access, and land consolidation. We developed over 100 visualizations to support discussions and foresight analysis at a 4-day workshop in Mombasa, Kenya with African AFS entrepreneurs to guide discussions on key system drivers and outcomes, which culminated in the development of a position paper. 

Following the workshop, Mathematica supported SLC and AAS in disseminating material to continue supporting AFS entrepreneurs and other decision-makers with sectoral insights. We contributed figures to position papers, and we synthesized several possible outcomes in key AFS domains to illustrate how drivers and outcomes would appear in four potential future scenarios in African agri-food systems. To ensure posterity of these materials for future AFS entrepreneurs, we developed this micro-site to host data visualizations and future scenarios, alongside narrative descriptions.

Related Staff

Anthony D'Agostino

Anthony D'Agostino

Senior Researcher

View Bio Page
Nathan Chesterman

Nathan Chesterman

Research Analyst

View Bio Page
Drew Koleros

Drew Koleros

Senior Researcher

View Bio Page

See Clearly. Act Quickly.

From local to global challenges in health, human services, and international development, we’re here to improve public well-being and make progress together. Learn more about becoming a Mathematica client or partner.

Work With Us