The Association of African Entrepreneurs (AAE), a Ghana-based nonprofit, is crowdfunding from willing donors to support women and young entrepreneurs in Africa, in an attempt to cut back on the 60 percent unemployment rate on the continent.
AAE has to raise US$4,000 from 50 donors by September 30 to retain its slot at the Global Giving, a network for projects to receive aid from donors from across the world. The total contributions currently tally up at US$670.
AAE, which represents volunteers and collaborators working to create a voice of change and platform for dialogue, is expanding its activities across Africa to train and support young entrepreneurs to establish sustainable businesses.
It is working with Small Scale Operators, including the informal sector and micro-operators in rural areas in Africa, with a focus on capacity building, advocacy, information sharing and networking support for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
According to Cornelius Nartey, the project leader of theorganisation, women and young entrepreneurs have great difficulty accessing relevant capacity building and support to start their businesses.
“Internet access, office space and equipment are very expensive, aspiring women and young entrepreneurs are left competing with job-seekers for the few job vacancies on the market every single year,” Nartey said.
AAE is therefore moving in to alleviate this by recruiting volunteers to assist SMEs on-site in setting up sustainable businesses in Ghana then later expand across Africa. Through its partnership with the Youth Employment Network (YEN), a partnership of the UN, ILO and the World Bank, the organisation seeks to come up with new and durable solutions to cut youth employment.
The nonprofit is attracting young entrepreneurs to its E-Coaching programme, which the firm says has so far helped connect 12 entrepreneurs to 15 coaches. According to AAE, this is not enough as more community-focused entrepreneurs and e-coaches are needed to help conquer the challenges they are confronted with on a daily basis.
Nartey says the money raised will help women and young entrepreneurs access relevant support to start their businesses and make them competitive in the job market.
According to UNDP, unemployment in Africa is over 60 percent, with youth and women most affected. AAE says it doing what it can to reduce this endemic.
With youth unemployment at over 20 per cent and about 133 million young people or 50 percent of them illiterate, according to the African Economic Outlook, vocational training and entrepreneurship solutions like AAE’s are welcome.
However, AAE is not the only organisation looking to tackle this situation.The UNDP Regional Programme for Social Cohesion and Youth Employment, a partnership between the UNDP, ILO, UNESCO and UNIDO has been doing the same since 2009.
The partners have been supporting 12 Sub-Saharan countries to come up with policies that promote youth employment and build their skills. The programme, funded by the Spain Cooperation to the tune of US$17 million, was implemented in Kenya, Guinea, Gambia, Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Malawi, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Lesotho, Mozambique, Senegal and Sierra Leone.