With Entrepreneurship, Africa’s Business Leaders Eye 25m Jobs

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From Obinna Chima in Kigali, Rwanda

Young people in Africa that wish to transform their business ideas into successful enterprises are set to benefit from a new initiative by business leaders in the continent which is aimed at promoting youth entrepreneurship and tackle joblessness in the continent.

The President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Mr. Akinwumi Adesina, disclosed this at a media briefing yesterday, at the ongoing World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa in Kigali, Rwanda.

According to Adesina, Africa currently has a job crisis. He said two-thirds of the continent’s youths are without jobs, which he stressed put then in vulnerable position.

“If you take a look at Africa, we have a job crisis and two-thirds of Africa’s youth are without jobs and are in vulnerable position. This can heighten social tension in the continent. Therefore, the AfDB is announcinannoung is meeting a new initiative that is focused on creating 25 million jobs for Africa’s youths over the next 10 years.

“Most of that would be in the area of skills and entrepreneurial development, so as to support the businesses of young Africans. My expectation is that at the end of this WEF on Africa session, we would be able to understand the enabling conditions that Africa must fulfil to participate effectively in the fourth industrial revolution and also unleash its skills in the 21st century.

“I think the issue we are talking about is the fourth industrial revolution, which is very important for Africa. But we must recognise that the fourth industrial revolution is here, yet Africa has not participated in the second industrial revolution,” Adesina who is a Co-chair at the forum said.

Also, the Chairman of Heirs Holdings, Mr. Tony Elumelu, warned that if measures are not taken to tackle unemployment in the continent, Africa’s demographic boom might turn out to be a demographic doom.

Elumelu, who is also a co-chair at the ongoing forum added: “I see myself as an Africapitalist in everything that I do and all these discussions are about economic empowerment of our youths.

“I am concerned as many of our participants that we need to be careful in Africa and make sure that our demographic boom does not become demographic doom and the way to do this is to make sure that we economically empower our youths.

“We have a lot of them, but if we don’t do this, it can become a major trouble for us and I am happy that we are talking about job creation in a manner that is functional in the 21st century.”

He highlighted efforts by the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), to support young African entreprenuers through the Tony Elumelu Enterprenuership Programme (TEEP).

Also speaking at the briefing, the Global Managing Director, McKinsey & Company, Dominic Barton, stressed the need to support small businesses in the continent