Africa Must Prioritize Investing in Her Youth

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Africa has been blessed, not only with natural resources but also an abundance of youth, yet we fail to adequately invest in them. At least 60% of Africa’s young people are under the age of 30 but unemployment continues to rear its ugly head leaving frustrated youth so desperate that they are migrating in droves for better opportunities abroad despite the dangers of slavery and drowning in the Mediterranean sea.

Leaders should double down on efforts to create jobs, increase the quantity and quality of education spending and create opportunities at home by rooting out corruption, and investing in job-creating sectors, as echoed by the African Union and Nelson Mandela.

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We need to guide our youth through quality education and channel them in the right direction. Former South African president Nelson Mandela believed strongly in the power of young people and their role to harness positive change in Africa. We need to honour his legacy.

In recent years, the youth have been pushed to the edge as unemployment continues to escalate. Of Africa’s 600 million youth, aged between 15-35, one-third are unemployed and discouraged, another third are vulnerably employed, and only one in six has a steady paid job.

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For many decades, tackling extreme poverty has been neglected, but now is the time to make it a priority. Africa Countries need to come together and commit to policy reforms, while scaling up investment in youth and projects to deliver on the changes needed.

For us to tackle these challenges, All Africa countries must come together to make and implement processes, and create an equal partnership between all stakeholders. A true equal partnership between African and partner countries, are at the forefront, because shared benefits mean shared responsibilities.

CNBC Africa Copyright 2018

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Africa Must Prioritize Investing in Her Youths

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Business: Impact Fund to Create Jobs for Rural Youths

An impact fund with an innovative approach for attracting much needed capital to the rural areas of developing countries has been launched at the annual meeting of Member States of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

According to a statement on IFAD website, it was the at IFAD alongside with the European Union, the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP), the government of Luxembourg and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) launched the Agri-Business Capital (ABC) Fund to help rural entrepreneurs in the agricultural sector access the finance they need to grow their businesses and create jobs for poor rural people, in particular young people.

The statement also noted that the aim of the ABC fund is to generate private sector investment in rural small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), farmers’ organisations and smallholder farmers’ groups which often find it hard to access finance from traditional institutions who view them as too risky.

The IFAD President, Gilbert Houngbo in the statement noted those small and medium-sized enterprises can be an engine for development and offer rural communities a pathway out of poverty and hunger, “but only if they can access the resources they need.”

He also noted that the launch of the fund is an important step to realize the huge potential of small farmers, their organizations, and most importantly young people.

The statement also noted that it is estimated that more than half of the 1.2 billion young people in the world live in rural areas.

The statement added that young people are two to three times more likely than adults to be unemployed, adding that in Africa alone, 10 to 12 million young people enter the job market yearly.

The European Commissioner, International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, emphasized the potential impact of the fund investments on smallholder households.

He also noted that smallholders and rural businesses are not getting the investment they need from the private sector, adding that the Fund would help address this gap, improve their access to capital and consequently the lives of 700.000 rural household.

In line with its focus on promoting private-sector development, ACP Secretary General, Patrick Gomes, highlighted the transformative effect the ABC fund could have in poor rural communities.

According to Gomes, “Our African, Caribbean and Pacific members have great expectations of the ABC Fund. We look forward to having the Fund respond to specific needs in the three regions and supporting the implementation of our new approach to structurally transform the ACP agricultural sector. This fund, which aims to contribute to wealth and job creation, particularly for our youth, should significantly enable ACP countries to add value, extract higher rents from commodities, diversify and further integrate into global value chains.”

Paulette Lenert, Luxembourg’s Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs, said her government has been a critical partner in the fund’s development.

“In line with the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development, Luxembourg has been very active in the field of sustainable impact investment and innovative financing mechanisms,” she said. “This has been the case in green and inclusive finance, in labelling and in social performance measurement, as well as in mobilizing private capital for the SDGs. Luxembourg is very proud of having been instrumental, from the first hour, in bringing about this innovative project.”

The ABC Fund aims to raise EUR 200 million over the next 10 years. It will provide loans adapted to the needs of SMEs. Loan size will range from EUR 20,000 to EUR 800,000. The ABC Fund will work through financial institutions for loans in the range of EUR 20,000 to EUR 200,000, while providing loans between EUR 200,000 and 800,000 directly to investees.

AGRA President Agnes Kalibata, said her organization, with its focus on developing private-sector capacity for technology adoption in Africa, will build on this work as the fund is rolled out across the continent.

“AGRA is delighted to partner with IFAD, EU, and the Government of Luxembourg on this unique and game-changing fund that will provide loans of below 1 million euros which is what most African small rural agri-businesses need to grow and continue delivering previously unavailable, inaccessible and unaffordable services to millions of smallholder farmers,” she said.

IFAD and AGRA, both with operations on the ground in rural communities, will work closely with the fund manager to identify investment opportunities with promising SMEs.

The ABC Fund is an independent fund based in Luxembourg and its investment portfolio will be managed by Bamboo Capital Partners with Injaro Investments Limited as investment advisor.

“Bamboo is proud to collaborate with IFAD on a forward-looking investment strategy, focused on smallholder farmers’ productivity, market access, domestic value creation and resilience,” said Jean-Philippe de Schrevel, CEO, at Bamboo Capital Partners.

Commitments to the ABC Fund include: EUR 45 million from the European Union and the ACP (including 5 million for technical assistance), EUR 5 million from Luxembourg and EUR 4.5 million from AGRA.

Source This Day

Report: Ebooks for building healthy reading habits among Africa’s youth

Children

By Navanwita Sachdev

In 2016, a high school teacher in South Africa realized that her students were not connecting with their books. To encourage their reading, she started publishing ebooks with a hook, written by and for teenagers who live in South Africa’s townships.

Popularly called Cover2Cover books, these books were made available on Worldreader’s reading application in 2016, drawing favourable results. The countries with the highest number of readers turned out to be South Africa (112,398), Ethiopia (105,649), and Nigeria (104,549).

This month, as part of the recent launch of the Ghana Year of Reading initiative, Surfline Communications Limited, Ghana’s 4G LTE internet service provider, has joined hands with Ghana Library Authority (GhLA) to bring Wifi connectivity for patrons of public libraries in the Greater Accra Region. This partnership can make the library accessible to more people by making it easy for them to read content.

While Ghana’s initiative is an encouraging start, the internet can give that concern a further push.

Paper or Silicon?

Reading materials

Gaining access to books in Africa is often challenging and costly. Only a handful of countries, like Kenya, South Africa, and Nigeria, have a notable book trade.

Textbooks for schools are the highest market, where governments are the biggest buyers. Coherent book development policies, special taxes, and special postal rates for books ordered from national libraries are often suggested as what is needed to encourage reading in Africa, according to the BBC.

Printing paper, ink, and printing plates are taxed at the same level as other commodities, and they are also seen as an impediment that makes books costly. This often makes it difficult for the ordinary person to purchase a book. An e-book can solve these problems.

Starting in 2010, the dispersal of mobile communications technology on a large scale has given African governments, organisations, and people more access to educational resources both inside and outside school, according to Quartz.

Low-cost, low-consumption smartphones and tablets have become a boon for ICT in education moving out of the school environment, step-by-step.

Mobile tools, such as tablets, offer a significant opening to fulfil challenges such as lack of books and textbooks. Some 600,000 children in nine African countries were given Kindle-style readers. The initiative resulted in a substantial impact on reading.

The Value of Reading

The access that the internet offers to a population for gaining knowledge or just enjoying the pleasure of reading could go a long way in emerging countries in Africa.

Along with building the financial economy, African countries can build their knowledge economy. People buy or sell books only if they see value in reading, and the value stems from both the ability and the desire to read.

NOP World Culture Score (TM) Index, which examines Global Media Habits, such as listening to the radio, time spent on the radio, and reading books, came out with its numbers way back in 2005.

While data was not available for most of Africa, in the category of reading for pleasure among adults, Egypt was ranked fifth with an average number of 7.3 hours spent in a week. That puts the country in the top six, above the global average of 6.5 hours per week.

Image Source Examined Existence

Another African country to make the list was South Africa, with average weekly reading hours of 6.18. In fact, according to a 2017 survey by the South African Book Development Council, seven out of 10 South African adults read for pleasure.

To find a comparison with the rest of the world, India ranks first with over 10 hours of reading per week. Thailand and China are second and third, with 9.24 and 8 hours per week respectively. Both Egypt and South Africa left behind countries like UK at 5.3 and the US at 5.42 hours.

As Professor Abdu Kasozi, the former executive director of the National Council for Higher Education in Uganda pointed out in Peril of Africa, a quality education goes a longer way than swanky infrastructure, as is evident from the success of many Asian countries, a lesson that Africa could learn too.

Ebooks could be the answer to Africa’s problems when it comes to reading habits. The fact that ebooks require no shipping costs and all one needs is a low-cost phone and mobile data to be able to enjoy a story, could be encouraging to publishers and readers in Africa.

Source The Sociable

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Prof. Kim Urges Youth To Patronise GET Programme To Develop Entrepreneurship Abilities


By Modern Ghana


The Director of the Institute of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Handong Global University, Professor George Kim, has urged Ghana to nurture an environment that would generate more entrepreneurs to solve the unemployment problem and create wealth for its citizens.

He, therefore, encouraged Ghanaians to patronise the Global Entrepreneurship Training (GET), which teaches the mechanisms for starting new businesses for accelerating economic growth.

Prof. Kim, who was addressing the eighth GET session, organised jointly with Methodist University College of Ghana (MUCG) explained that the sessions also offered the platform for sharing life changing experiences that helped to transform young people into creative entrepreneurs.

When young people developed entrepreneurial mindsets, he said, their nations benefited a great deal as was evidenced by the situation in most developed countries, which had been able to sustain their frontal positions on the global economic ladder.

So far eight GET sessions have been held in 12 countries on four of the continents since the inception of the Programme. It has produced more than 300 graduates who are making significant contributions to the development of their countries.

In Africa, regional centres for Global Entrepreneurship have been established in Ghana and Kenya, with the MUCG hosting Ghana’s facility.

The Coordinator for the Ghana GET Programme, the Reverend Francis Aboagye -Nuamah, said it was important to help young children to cultivate an entrepreneurial mindset so that they would grow with the principles and apply them at the ripe time.

‘We have a session for our Senior High School where our volunteers explain the programme to them comprehensively and help them to develop the critical mindset for identifying problems,’ he explained.

Rev Aboagye-Nuamah said that the Programme would not only focus on solving entrepreneurial problems but also aid people to excel in their fields.

The President of the Students Representative Council, Mr. Charles Iheke, on his part, said the GET initiative at the MUCG was being implemented with UNESCO and Handong Global University, towards solving the myriad of problems related to unemployment.

‘This is targeted at people in Africa, because we believe that by 2050, Africa will be home to over four billion people,’ he said

He explained that the Junior Entrepreneur Session that was held for the senior high schools would prepare them for university, thus going in with a renewed mind like that of modern day entrepreneurs.


Source Modern Ghana


AfDB and ILO Launch Decent Rural Employment Promotion Scheme for Young Farmers in Central Africa

(Business in Cameroon) – The African Development Bank (AfDB) and the International Labor Office (ILO) are organizing from February 12 to 14, in Brazzaville, Congo, a workshop themed “unlocking the potential of rural economies through investment in the skills development and employability of youth in the agricultural sector in Central Africa”.

The meeting, AfDB says, aims to deepen talks on ongoing initiatives at the global, sub-regional (Cameroon, DR Congo, Chad, Gabon, etc.) and national levels in order to define strategic axes for the promotion of decent work for youth in the rural economy. Further, it is also an opportunity for social partners and sectoral ministry officials to better understand such strategies and better know how to deploy them.

The findings will enable the 150 participants expected to have tools to facilitate the identification of activities that generate productive employment in agriculture and the rural economy and thus ensure better support for companies and young people working in the sector.

AfDB indicates that agriculture is a mainstay for the development ambitions for productive sectors in Central African countries by 2030.


Source Business In Cameroon