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


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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These Are The 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For In African Youths

By Andrew Christian

According to the World Bank, youths account for 60 percent of the jobless in Africa. In North Africa, the unemployment rate is at 25 percent, with even larger numbers in countries such as the DRC, Senegal, South Africa, and Nigeria. There are about 200 million people between 15 and 24 in the continent, making it the largest population of young people in the world. In most African countries, youth unemployment occurs at steam twice stronger than that for adults, according to the AfDB, with young women feeling the sting of joblessness more than the male lot.

But African leaders are doing all they can to battle unemployment. In Senegal, 200,000 people join the labour market each year, which is the outcome of the program launched by President Macky Sall in February 2013 to create 30,000 jobs within a year and possibly, 300,000 by 2017. With financing from the African Development Bank, self-employment programs for youth and women are also ongoing in Senegal.

Africa’s unemployment statistics don’t include those in vulnerable employment and those who are underemployed in informal regards. Truth be told, most young Africans land jobs, but not in places that pay them well, help them develop their skills or provide a measure of job security – hence, underemployed. According to the Washington-based think tank Brookings Institution, under-employment isn’t a problem serious enough to warrant greater attention, since it masks the reality in countries that post low unemployment rates. In the DRC, Ghana, Mali, Rwanda, Uganda, Senegal, Mali, Malawi, and Ethiopia, more than 70 percent of the youths are either self-employed or contributing to family work.

The figures can be scary, and governments can be blamed for the situation. But what part do African youths have to play in landing the dream job? Of course, it’s more than just sitting at home and waiting for your president to sign agreements with international employers so you would have a six-figure salary. While there are many untapped opportunities in Africa, the professional social network.

LinkedIn has compiled a list of skills that have the most job-landing potential in 2019. Who better does it than the base of experts itself? Rather than stressing different problems – which as of now looks futile – we need to recognise that tech companies such as Facebook, Google, IBM, Apple, and others are on the lookout for SKILLS. If they weren’t, then they wouldn’t ask job seekers to not bank on their college degrees. Yes, to get a job in most of these companies today, you don’t need to have a degree. You need to have skill.

The guys at LinkedIn discovered that employers nowadays are on the lookout for workers with both soft and hard technical skills, and went on to match them with free LinkedIn Learning courses for potential candidates. So, they have taken it as a point of duty to help out in evening by getting to know the skills that make you a job magnet.

Five Most In-Demand Soft Skills Of 2019

1.Time Management

There’s a popular African cliche which says that time is money and that it waits for no man. Or is it African? Well, one thing’s for sure, employers want to hire people that know how well to manage their time, especially in their job areas. There is a cornucopia of books out there that teach you how to be effective with time. Meanwhile, here are free courses that LinkedIn want you to take.

2. Adaptability

Take it from me, employers don’t want to have to put up with persons who would complain about a new job months after they get hired. All job roles are not the same, and that pretty much tells you that you need to discipline your mind and body to adapt to the dream job situation you find yourself in. Nagging doesn’t help – at least not often. To get into a job environment in one thing; to fit into it is another.

3. Collaboration

It could be a wrong guess, but there is hardly any CV today that doesn’t have a section which says that the candidate is a team player. While this has become rather too monotonous, the moral lesson is that job seekers need to learn how to collaborate. Most employers don’t want you being a lone wolf or solitary worker who doesn’t give a heck what other employees think. In most work environments, it is all about teamwork.

4. Persuasion

This is not some Mother Confessor type of persuasion, neither does it have jack to do with hypnosis. The power of persuasion is truly a skill, one with which you convince who to do what at then and so. There are startups out there who have the best ideas but don’t have the ability to persuade investors to fund those ideas. Not only is this a critical job skill, but a must-have if you are ever going to make people see reasons with you in other life aspects.

5. Creativity

This isn’t meant to scare the barnacles out of you, but, very soon, robots will start doing your job. But in as much as these metal mashups can perform certain tasks better than humans, they cannot be as creative as. Take a look at all the great ideas making money all over the world. Aren’t they all from the stables of creative thinkers? Employers would rather hire creative talent than have to pay someone who would just follow directions.

Five Most In-Demand Hard Skills In 2019

1. UX Design

With websites launching from every nook and cranny, people are going to need UX designers to help create quality, spellbinding content that will put smiles on their customers’ faces. User Experience is not cakewalk nowadays, but thanks to the establishment of tech hubs and computer centres, these skills can be learned for free.

2. People Management

There are different kinds of people in this world, and when dealing with customers, employers would rather have a people person by their side. Why else did Bobby Axelrod hire a shrink for his stock trading company? By the way, that’s from the movie series Billions. People, when managed effectively, turn not just customers, but assets to a company. That’s why companies need people managers.

3. Analytical Reasoning

Analytical reasoning refers to the ability to look at information, be it qualitative or quantitative in nature, and discern patterns within the information. It involves deductive reasoning with no specialised knowledge, such as: comprehending the basic structure of a set of relationships; recognizing logically equivalent statements; and inferring what could be true or must be true from given facts and rules.

4. Artificial Intelligence

Need we say much? AI is unsurprisingly the number two on this list. If you have a knack for advanced science and skills to match your drive, then you are the hot cake companies are jousting in the arena for. Take a look at 27-year-old Silas Adekunle from Nigeria who is using his knowledge in robotics to land deals with Amazon and Apple, while selling his products MekaMon in Europe, Asia, Canada, and the UAE.

5. Cloud Computing

The most in-demand skill of 2019, cloud computing is the practice of using a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage, and process data, rather than a local server or a personal computer. Knowledge of the way this works will most likely snag you a six-figure dollar monthly salary.

Source weetracker

Be true ambassadors of Zimbabwe, Catholic youths urged

By Environment & tourism

Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Cde Prisca Mupfumira, has sent off some 128 catholic youths who will attend the World Youth Day in Panama which will commence from the 22nd to the 27th of this month.

The Minister urged the youths to be the face of the country as true ambassadors.

The 128 youths from the Roman Catholic Church will leave the country this week to attend one of the church’s biggest events, the World Youth Day to be hosted in Panama, Central America, where they will join other catholic members from across the globe.

A colourful farewell dinner for the delegation was hosted on Wednesday evening where Minister Mupfumira called upon the youths to be the face of tourism for the country saying the event is not only for religious purposes, but also an opportunity to market the country as a resort destination.

Father Cloud Maganga who will lead the delegation said the World Youth Day has not only benefitted catholic members, but also has a positive bearing on the community at large.

Some of the youths heading for Panama are confident the networking and idea-exchange with other youths will have a worthy influence to their respective communities when they return from this global event.

The World Youth Day is a global catholic event held after every two to three years.

The last gathering was in Poland in 2016.

Meanwhile, Panama was listed by the national geographic traveller as the 4th must visit tourism destination after Zimbabwe which is 3rd, Germany 2nd and Sri-Lanka which is the 1st, hence the visit is an opportunity to tie tourism relations between the two countries.

Source ZBC