As part of a partnership targeted at future collaboration expected to strengthen small and medium-sized enterprises, while developing talents and skills of Africa’s youth, Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB), on Monday approved a $5m grant.\
A statement by the AfDB said the grant, which followed the signing of a letter of intent between both parties, during the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme launch in March this year, will enable the Tony Elumelu Foundation to scale up its Entrepreneurship Programme outreach and impact 1,000 select youth.
The partnership will bring about future collaboration focused on strengthening small to medium-sized enterprises as well as talent and skills development for Africa’s youth and will support 3,050 young entrepreneurs across 54 African countries.
The AfDB said the participation, which aligns with its 10-year jobs for youth in Africa strategy launched in 2016, will provide the much-needed opportunities to help stem the rising tide of unemployment and inequality facing the continent’s youngest citizens.
The programme is targeted at supporting the creation of 25m decent jobs across the continent, just as it is expected to equip 50m young African people with employable skills that enable them to access economic opportunities and realize their full economic potential across the continent.
According to the terms of the agreement, the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme will deliver business training, mentoring, access to networks, markets and capital for business development to selected youth-led start-ups in order for them to grow and create jobs.
The bank assured that the programme demonstrates a strong alignment with its Youth Entrepreneurship and Innovation Multi-Donor Trust Fund objectives to build the African youth entrepreneurship ecosystem by scaling innovative youth-led start-ups, expanding youth market opportunities and improving youth access to finance.
Other development partners involved in supporting the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme are Agence Française de Développement, the German Agency for International Cooperation, the United Nations Development Programme and the International Committee of the Red Cross. They will also work to provide more business opportunities to youth entrepreneurs across the continent.
In 2017, the Bank established the Youth Entrepreneurship and Innovation Multi-Donor Trust Fund, in partnership with the governments of Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Italy and the Netherlands. The fund is a grant vehicle managed by the Bank to support the African entrepreneurship ecosystem directly and indirectly by leveraging on the Bank’s instruments. Its interventions will equip Africa’s youth with the right tools to establish start-ups and micro, small and medium enterprises.