Nigeria, 14 others to get $7.3m AfDB youth fund

Victor Uzoho

Nigeria is among the countries set to benefit from the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) $7.3 million Youth Entrepreneurship and Innovation Multi-Donor Trust Fund, aimed at creating jobs for the youths on the continent.

The fund is being provided under the AfDB’s Jobs for Youth in Africa Strategy, to operationalize project proposals to create several new enterprises and an estimated 20,000 jobs for youths, according to a statement yesterday (Tuesday) made available to Sustainable Economy.

Approved proposals include an initiative to boost job creation in climate change adaptation and resilience in Nigeria, Egypt, Ghana, Mali, Guinea, Morocco, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Seychelles, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Chad, Gabon and South Africa.

Recall that AfDB’s Technical Review Committee in June and July, approved eight project proposals to receive funding in an important milestone for its Jobs for Youth in Africa Strategy.

Approved proposals will receive grant funding of more than $7.3 million to operationalize their activities, creating several new enterprises and an estimated 20,000 jobs for youth across the continent.

The themes submitted included capacity building for entrepreneurs, climate change, gender, affordable housing, food security, migration and textiles, with the common thread of creating decent jobs for young women and men.

These support the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) number 8, which seeks to promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.

The initiative also aligns with SDG 13, which calls for urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

The Youth Entrepreneurship and Innovation Multi-Donor Trust Fund provides project preparation and co-financing for Bank projects and places great emphasis on employability, entrepreneurship and job creation through enterprise and value chain development.

Launched in November 2017, the Fund promotes the creation of sustainable jobs for young Africans by equipping youth and women-led startups, as well as micro, small and medium enterprises with the skills, financial support and enabling environments to run bankable businesses.

Several of the approved proposals were submitted late last year in response to a call from the Bank’s Human Capital, Youth and Skills Development Department (AHHD) through the Youth Entrepreneurship and Innovation Multi-Donor Trust Fund.

Accordingly, the Bank’s offices, complexes and departments from across regional member countries submitted nearly 24 proposals for the committee’s review.

Speaking on the initiative, Director, AfDB’s Human Capital, Youth and Skills Department, Martha Phiri, said: “The diverse range of themes and interests demonstrate the degree that our Bank peers understand that creating jobs for Africa’s growing youth population is a cross-cutting issue to be factored into operations across the continent.

“The Youth Entrepreneurship and Innovation Multi-Donor Trust Fund, is increasingly viewed as a destination resource for financing our scale up efforts to create decent jobs for young women and men.”

The Jobs for Youth in Africa Strategy, seeks integration of jobs and skills for youths across the Bank’s operations to maximize increasing employment opportunities.

It specifically mandates embedding youth employment into the Bank’s plans, projects, staff training and systems, and increasing influence and support in regional member countries.

One of the projects approved is leveraging technical collaboration with the International Labor Organization (ILO) to develop the Bank’s employment marker.

Other proposals approved include business development support for agricultural entrepreneurs selling online in Malawi and Zimbabwe, training to help staff members of Libya’s Ministry of Labour better meet the needs of young entrepreneurs including women and people living with disabilities, an online training and accelerator programme for entrepreneurs in the textile, apparel and accessories industries.

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