By Abdul Rahman Suagibu –
NEW AFRICA BUSINESS NEWS, Freetown, Sierra Leone- Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) Entrepreneurship Programme receive $5 million grant from the African Development Bank(AFDB). According to a press release.
“The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank has approved a grant of $5 million to enable the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme to scale up its outreach and impact to 1,000 select youth entrepreneurs,” the press release reads.
The partnership will aid 3,050 young entrepreneurs across fifty-four African countries. The Bank’s participation will improve an additional 1,000 entrepreneurs to benefit from the TEF programme, summing it up to a total of 4,050 candidates. This would minimize the growth of unemployment and the inequality among innovative African youth.
According to the press release, “The grant follows the signing of a letter of intent between the Bank and the Tony Elumelu Foundation, which took place during the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme launch in March this year.”
In addition, “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.”
The majority of youth in Africa do not have stable economic opportunities. Of Africa’s nearly 420 million youth aged 15-35, one-third are unemployed and discouraged, another third are vulnerably employed, and only one in six is in wage employment. Most governments in Africa have not been able to create enough job opportunities to match the rapid growth of its inactive workforce.
More so, a large percentage of innovative young Africans with great business ideas are in a fix due to government inability to meet up with infrastructural deficit, and lack of seed capital or more fund to boost Startups. Stringent requirements from financial institutions further cause a considerable number of Startups in the continent to die a natural death. These challenges among many others compel Startups to heavily rely on Venture Capitalists and Angel Investors. This partnership between the AFDB and the TEF would increase be bringing feeding and nourishing the youth-led Startups in Africa.
The TEF Entrepreneurship Programme is a $100million commitment by the Elumelu family to empower 10,000 African entrepreneurs over a 10-year period. The object is to create at least 1million jobs and contribute over $10billion in revenue to the African economy. It delivers 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. Through its Entrepreneurship Programme, the TEF empowers African entrepreneurs and the Startup ecosystem across 54 African countries. So far, the Foundation has empowered 7,531.
The TEF programme aligns with the AFDB’s Youth Entrepreneurship and Innovation Multi-Donor Trust Fund objectives, which aims to build the African youth entrepreneurship ecosystem by scaling innovative youth-led start-ups, expanding youth market opportunities and improving youth access to finance. AFDB’s ten-year Jobs for Youth in Africa strategy launched in 2016, to support the creation of 25 million decent jobs across the continent.
Apart from the African Development Bank, other development partners involved in supporting the TEF Programme include the Agence Française de Développement, the German Agency for International Cooperation, the United Nations Development Programme and the International Committee of the Red Cross.
For New Africa Business News Abdul Rahman Suagibu Reports, Africa Correspondent