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​​How Mastercard Foundation plans to help 30m African youths find jobs

by ISAAC ANYAOGU

March 22, 2018 | 3:27 pm
  |     |     |   Start Conversation

The Mastercard Foundation says it is committed to enabling 30 million African youths, especially young women, secure dignified and fulfilling work by 2030.

 

Through the foundation’s ‘Young Africa Works’ strategy which aims to reduce poverty on the continent by tackling youth unemployment, it said it will build on lessons learnt over the years to expand access to education and financial inclusion.

 

According to the foundation, the new strategy puts an emphasis on working with African organisations and designing solutions specific to a country’s economic needs and goals.

 

“Collaborating with governments and the private sector to identify priority areas for growth, the Foundation’s programs will prepare young people with the skills they need for employment through relevant training and education, use technology to connect employers and job seekers, and enable entrepreneurs and small businesses to expand through access to financial services,” the foundation said in a release sent to BusinessDay.

 

This seems like a tall order considering that Africa has one of the highest unemployment rates in the world, particularly for young people. By 2030, there will be more than 375 million people under the age of 35 in the labour market.

 

Population growth on the continent means that by 2035, there will be more young people entering Africa’s workforce each year than the rest of the globe combined. In 2050, one quarter of the world’s working age population will be African, making it the largest workforce in the world says Mastercard.

 

“Youth unemployment in Africa is the issue of our time. Together, we have an extraordinary opportunity to shape the future and increase prosperity for all,” said Reeta Roy, Mastercard Foundation President and CEO. “In fact, young people are leading the way. Let’s support their aspirations for their communities and their countries.”

 

The Foundation also announced two new programs in Rwanda that will directly contribute to the overall goal of increasing economic opportunities for young people in Africa. It is committing US$100 million to two new initiatives in Rwanda.

 

One is the Hanga Ahazaza, which aims to increase employment and enterprise opportunities for young Rwandans while expanding the country’s burgeoning tourism and hospitality sector and contributing to poverty reduction.

 

Hanga Ahazaza, meaning “create the future” in Kinyarwanda, will equip 30,000 young men and women with customer service, ICT, and digital literacy skills, and provide on-the-job training and opportunities for employment. The initiative will also support small businesses in the tourism and hospitality sector through increased access to financial services and business development skills so they can create more employment opportunities for young people. It is a consortium of partners from the education, development, and private sectors.

 

The second is the Leaders in Teaching, which will support the delivery of high quality, relevant secondary education and will establish the pan-African Centre for Innovative Teaching and Learning in ICT that will explore new approaches to improving educational outcomes.

 

The Leaders in Teaching initiative focuses on training, motivation, and professional development for teachers and school leaders. In Rwanda, at least 250,000 secondary school students will benefit as the initiative aims to improve Science, Math, and ICT knowledge and teaching skills for new and experienced teachers, improve the capacity of head teachers to create positive instructional environments, and recruit young people into the profession.

 

“Every day I see young Africans whose potential is going untapped,” said Angela Nzioki, Co-Founder and Manager of Pluspeople Kenya Limited and a youth panelist at an event launching the strategy. “They are innovative, passionate, and talented, and they want a chance to prove themselves. For Africa to prosper, young people need to be at the heart of the policies and strategies of governments, universities, employers, and donors.”

Mastercard Foundation’s work is focused on advancing learning and promoting financial inclusion for people living in poverty. It  says it works almost exclusively in Africa. It was created in 2006 by Mastercard International and operates independently under the governance of its own Board of Directors. The Foundation is based in Toronto, Canada.

 

 

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by ISAAC ANYAOGU

March 22, 2018 | 3:27 pm
  |     |     |   Start Conversation

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