Empowering Africa with 25 million jobs?

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On a continent where some 600 million people people live in households without electricity, it is very re-assuring to sit and listen to bank officials throw light on a plan empower African youth with jobs, 25 million of them. At the very recent African Development Bank’s annual meeting in Lusaka, there was a focus on 5 key areas President Adesina had prioritized. After participating in different discussions and sessions, it is not surprising energy, Agric, Job/Youth, quality of life and African integration came out as the five most critical areas the bank will focus on.

How does the bank intend to create these jobs?
In Africa, especially in countries south of the Sahara, unemployment is one of the biggest headaches African leaders have to deal with. According to the world bank’s statistics, 11 million young Africans expected to join the labour market every year for the next decade. It is clear African governments are however facing hurdles in their quest to create enough jobs to meet this number. Through initiatives such as Enable Africa, the AfDB intends to take advantage of the continents landmass of arable land and conducive climate to introduce the youth to opportunities in Agriculture. ENABLE ((Empowering Novel Agri-Business-Led Employment) Africa is a collaboration between The African Development Bank (AfDB) and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA). After successful workshops in Abuja the bank and its partners plan to engage other stakeholders to ensure the success of this intervention. Though the AfDB is noted for its regular engagements with governments and public sectors, it intends o include as many private partners in this initiate. Notable private players such Aliko Dangote and Tony Elumelu from Nigeria are already playing major roles in this process.

ENABLE Africa adds to other African youth empowerment initiatives such as TEEP (Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme) and MEST’s Kosmos Innovation Center (KIC).

Unlike other agencies which are oblivious of the challenges on the continent, the AfDB seems to have a very rich level of knowledge about Africa’s challenges and opportunities. The bank is has already made arrangements to solve the continent’s energy problems through its Energy Africa initiative. How is this different from the over twenty other electrification initiatives we have already heard about? From the panel discussions, sessions, literature and lectures, the bank has made it clear this initiative will actively involve stake-holders to avoid stumbling on bottle-necks.

What do you think about the bank’s ambitious goal? Can the AfDB and its partners untie the many knots to meet its objectives? Do you want to know more about how the bank intends to achieve its High 5 goals? Catch up on the many tweets published by bloggers and participants on during the last annual meeting.

Edward Amartey-Tagoe is a co-founder of Nandimobile, a technology company located in Accra which focuses on building software with which enterprises can better manage its customer support ad marketing processes.

He is also a passionate blogger and a member of BloggingGhana (BloGh), an organised group of bloggers in the Ghana. He believes Africa is a virgin territory and thus must be tapped into.

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