Government officials and young entrepreneurs representing eight Commonwealth countries in Africa have committed to advancing youth entrepreneurship by developing cohesive national strategies and cross-sector cooperation. The pledge came during a regional technical workshop on youth entrepreneurship for over 50 key officials from ministries of labour, youth affairs, trade and industry, representatives of the Commonwealth Alliance of Young Entrepreneurs–East Africa (CAYE-EA), and NGO and intergovernmental technical experts.
Undoubtedly, youth entrepreneurship does not come without its challenges. Nevertheless, many young entrepreneurs across the continent are pushing through the bottlenecks and reaching great heights. The Commonwealth Youth Entrepreneurship Workshop brought together young successful East African entrepreneurs with policy makers to learn from one another other. There are many challenges that emerged from the discussions but also demonstrations of the youthful zeal to rise above them.
Every year, thousands of young Africans migrate from their families’ small, often struggling farms in the countryside. Their dream — sometimes fulfilled, often not — is to find a more rewarding and stimulating life in the continent’s rapidly growing cities. It’s a complicated connection and one I deeply understand. My own exodus to the city as a young man opened up lifetime opportunities that culminated in serving as president of Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy. Few return but even fewer ever completely sever their ties.
Mahmud Johnsonis founder and chief executive of J-Palm Liberia, an oil palm processing business he founded in 2013. He is one of a new group of young Liberians who attended university in the United States but returned to their country rather than settling abroad. Their contributions are essential elements in Liberia's attempt to regain momentum towards peace and prosperity after a quarter century of conflict and unrest, followed by the devastation of Ebola. He talked to AllAfrica about his work and his goal that it will be a tool to address Liberia's social problems and to create jobs. (AllAfrica interviews are edited for length and context.)
Diaspora Angel Investment Network (DAIN), NativSol Kitchen, and Mansa Colabs in partnership with Women Advancing Nutrition, Dietetics and Agriculture (WANDA).
The Africa Farm to Fork Entrepreneurial Bootcamp (#AfricaFarm2Fork) is the first-ever one day bootcampoffered exclusively by the Diaspora Angel Investment Network (DAIN),NativSol Kitchen, and Mansa Colabs in partnership with Women Advancing Nutrition, Dietetics and Agriculture (WANDA). In this experiential boot camp, we will help you build sustainable businesses while helping the community. Guided by your bootcamp coaches, you will gain concrete skills of creating a business with insight from industry experts addressing visual modelling, organic agriculture, co-packing, functional foods, nutritional value of foods, and fair trade.
FSG partnered with Coca-Cola Brazil to drive greater adoption of shared value within the company. FSG developed a company-wide vision, guiding principles, and a strategy for shared value, identifying 6 strategic priority areas ripe with potential to create significant business and social impact. Operating in 126 sites and reaching 60,000 young people across the country, Coletivo is one of Coca-Cola Brazil’s flagship shared value programs, which strengthens the business by advancing the economic and social conditions in the communities in which Coca-Cola operates. In 2014, Coca-Cola Brazil partnered with FSG to identify opportunities to increase the business and social impact of Coletivo and assess other opportunities to create shared value.
Under the umbrella of the DREAMS Initiative of the US Government’s PEPFAR support in Kenya, ASPIRES is organizing short-term technical assistance for experts in the delivery of training and follow-on support in two areas: financial capabilities and entrepreneurship. The Training of Trainers for each topic will be delivered to 10 local implementing partners who are serving the DREAMS target population of adolescent girls and young women ages 10-24 who are HIV-vulnerable in Nairobi and Kisumu (Western) province.
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The World Bank
The five winners of the 2016 Blog4Dev highlighted inequality as one of the key issues impacting young people in Africa. Young people who have access to opportunities can afford better education but interestingly face strong pressure on who they should become - a doctor, an engineer -- professions that make their parents happy. The less fortunate have to move from rural areas and cities in search for stability. They sometimes face harsh conditions, often working on low quality jobs, saving to send money to their families back home.
Alain Nteff co-founded an award-winning social enterprise, Gifted Mom, when he was just 20 years old. Gifted Mom’s mission is to prevent infant and maternal deaths by delivering critical health information to pregnant women and new mothers via mobile technology. The service uses SMS and voices messaging to deliver stage-based and customized notifications for pregnant women and new mothers, with information on topics like when to go for their next antenatal care session or baby vaccination. The platform currently impacts 6,000 users in Cameroon, Mali, and Nigeria.
International Youth Foundation, Monash South Africa (MSA) and Laureate International Universities
MSA LEAD is the newest member of IYF’s YouthActionNet® Global Network of 23 youth leadership institutes around the world. Monash South Africa is one of 15 Laureate International Universities involved in this initiative. The 10 inaugural MSA LEAD Fellows will benefit from a week of intensive training in leadership and management skills, along with ongoing learning opportunities. Each will be paired with a mentor from the business or nonprofit community and receive funding to support their work.