A Youthful Remedy for Africa’s Youth Unemployment
In Ghana, Mabel Suglo co-founded Eco-Shoes, a company that helps artists with disabilities create fashionable, comfortable footwear and accessories from old tires and recycled fabric.
In 2015, the Anzisha Prize, a joint initiative of the African Leadership Academy in South Africa and the Mastercard Foundation, honored Suglo for her innovative business strategy. Suglo provides mentoring in product development and financial literacy to five employees, and today, her business is growing.
And in South Africa, Marlon Parker, founder of the social innovation academy and incubator RLabs, created a virtual currency called Zlato to encourage active participation in skills-training workshops. When young people attend courses, access laptops, or book rooms at RLabs cafes, they earn Zlato credit that can be exchanged for food, medical care, and basic necessities. Since its inception in 2008, RLabs has created tens of thousands of jobs and is now active in 24 countries.
Africa’s youngest entrepreneurs are not only finding ways to support themselves and contribute to their communities; they are solving the main cause of migration on – and off – the continent. Entrepreneurs supported through the Anzisha Prize, for example, have created more than 300 jobs and generated more than $850,000 in capital. Fellows funded by Ashoka , another organization supported by the Mastercard Foundation, have created a staggering 200,000 jobs.
The skill with which young people are creating jobs through such enterprises gives great hope for the future. These bright, talented Africans are demonstrating the tenacity needed to overcome existing barriers and contribute to the wellbeing of their families, communities, and countries.
This should not come as a surprise. Young people everywhere are closest to the challenges their generation faces, and they often have the solutions to those that most affect them. We should offer our support. As many more young Africans prepare to enter the workforce, adequate job creation will require continued expansion of entrepreneurship. After all, these are the jobs that will keep Africa’s young people on the continent for generations to come.
<p>Copyright: Project Syndicate 2017 – <a href=”https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/africa-job-creation-young-entrepreneurs-by-meredith-lee-2017-11/english”>A Youthful Remedy for Africa’s Youth Unemployment</a></p>