Mastercard Foundation Expands Youth Development Programme

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By Oluchi Chibuzor

Mastercard Foundation has announced the expansion of its Young Africa Works programme in Nigeria to over $500 million.

The programme would focus on increasing young people’s work in agriculture, digital and creative sectors.

The Nigeria Hub joins Rwanda, Kenya, Ghana, Senegal, Ethiopia, and Uganda, where the organisation is building a broader presence of the Foundation’s work in Africa guided by its mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion for people living in poverty.

Speaking on the latest development, Nigeria Country Head, Mastercard Foundation, Mrs. Chidinma Lawanson, explained that, “Partnering with financially sustainable and highly scalable social enterprises, like Babban Gona, which is part-owned by the farmers they serve, will give us the momentum to take Young Africa Works to scale.”

Lawanson, who has over 24 years of experience in development finance and commercial banking, further explained that, “the Babban Gona model uses training and education, access to financing, and a gainful source of income to ensure young people have the tools and skills they need to prosper.”

In Nigeria, the Foundation would continue collaborating with its existing partners while identifying new partners to reach its overall goal of 10 million Nigerian young people, especially young women, in work opportunities by the year 2030.

The President and CEO, Mastercard Foundation, Reeta Roy, said technology was changing the nature of work in Africa and around the world.

According to her, “The continent is in the early stages of a technology revolution, and in some cases, Africa is leading with innovative business models through the widespread use of mobile technology and smartphones, which will create growth and work opportunities for millions of young people.”

The foundation stressed that with Africa quickly becoming home to the world’s largest workforce, with a projected 375 million young people entering the job market by 2030, deliberate investment in young women and young men would be the most transformative investment any society can make.

“With the right skills, training, and education, these young people will contribute to Africa’s global competitiveness and improve their lives and those of their communities and countries.

Ensuring Africa’s young people are connected to employment opportunities or can build their own livelihoods is arguably the number one task for African policymakers,” it stated.