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Microsoft, AfDB partner to fast-track youth entrepreneurship

Microsoft has strengthened partnership with the African Development Bank (AfDB) to scale up technical and financial support for young entrepreneurs.

In a statement, the organisation said it is expanding its partnership with the AfDB to support Africa’s youth entrepreneurs under the bank’s Youth Entrepreneurship Investment Banks (YEIB) Initiative.

Through its African Transformation Office (ATO), Microsoft will work with the bank to develop youth entrepreneurship ecosystems, creating jobs and dramatically scaling impact in Africa through digital inclusion.

Africa’s young population is expected to double in size by 2050, reaching 830 million. It stated that even as 10 to 12 million youth join the continent’s workforce every year, just three million jobs are created; meaning large numbers of people remain unemployed.

Youth entrepreneurship will go a long way to solving the employment challenge, but lack of investment, affordable access to finance and quality business development services still present significant hurdles.

General Manager, Microsoft Africa Regional Cluster, Wael Elkabbany, said: “We believe much can be done to help foster youth entrepreneurship by collaborating with the African Development Bank, driving greater economic inclusion for this key segment of the population, and ultimately building a more prosperous society.

Already we have seen considerable success partnering together on initiatives such as Coding for Employment, which aims to equip millions of African youth with empl­oyable skills, ultimately creating broad scale employment.”

Vice President for Private Sector, Infrastructure and Industrialisation, AfDB, Solomon Quaynor, said: “The strengthening of our partnership with Microsoft on the YEIB is an important development in our journey towards harnessing Africa’s demographic dividend and facilitating the creation of millions of jobs for young Africans by 2025. The initiative places much-needed focus on youth entrepreneurship, which is key to achieving our ambitious employment targets.”

The partnership seeks to support the establishment of national-level institutions through a public-private collaboration model to scale up technical and financial support for youth entrepreneurs and build their capacity.

“We are excited about the potential of this collaboration to magnify the work Microsoft is doing around digital inclusion in Africa. The digital economy plays an important part in giving rise to innovative new ventures that will create sustainable employment for young Africans.

The more we can ensure budding young entrepreneurs are given every opportunity to participate in the digital economy, the closer we get to build a more prosperous future for everyone,” concludes Strategic Partnerships Lead, Microsoft ATO, Angela Kyerematen-Jimoh.

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