According to the African Development Bank, it has strengthened its partnership with Microsoft in order to increase technical and financial support for young entrepreneurs.
The partnership with the African Development Bank to support Africa’s youth entrepreneurs was part of the bank’s Youth Entrepreneurship Investment Banks (YEIB) initiative, according to a statement.
According to the statement, Microsoft would collaborate with the bank through its African Transformation Office to develop youth entrepreneurship ecosystems, create jobs, and dramatically scale impact in Africa through digital inclusion.
According to the statement, with Africa’s young population expected to double to 830 million by 2050, youth employment is likely to increase.
They noted that while youth entrepreneurship would help to solve Africa’s employment problem, a lack of investment, affordable access to finance, and quality business development services remained significant barriers.
“We believe that by collaborating with the African Development Bank, we can drive greater economic inclusion for this key segment of the population, ultimately building a more prosperous society,” said Wael Elkabbany, General Manager of Microsoft Africa Regional Cluster.
“We’ve already seen significant success collaborating on initiatives like Coding for Employment, which aims to equip millions of African youth with employable skills, ultimately creating widespread employment.”
Solomon Quaynor, Vice President for Private Sector, Infrastructure, and Industrialization at the African Development Bank, described the collaboration as an important step toward harnessing Africa’s demographic dividend and facilitating the creation of millions of jobs for young Africans by 2025.
“The initiative places much-needed emphasis on youth entrepreneurship, which is critical to meeting our ambitious employment targets,” he said.
The partnership sought to support the establishment of national-level institutions through a public-private collaboration model to scale technical and financial support for youth entrepreneurs and build their capacity, according to the statement.
The African Development Bank established the Youth Entrepreneurship Investment Bank as a unique value proposition to anchor and integrate efforts to develop African entrepreneurship ecosystems.
The bank will bring together all relevant financial and non-financial parties and partners to play their respective roles in supporting youth entrepreneurs through mentorship, coaching, knowledge and experience sharing, and other means through this initiative.
The Youth Entrepreneurship Investment Bank will establish a funding scheme, credit guarantee scheme, and technical assistance programs in collaboration with both the private and public sectors and partners. In terms of policy, it will lobby governments for the business-enabling environment reforms required to catalyze youth entrepreneurship.
Microsoft will also use its partner ecosystem, which spans 54 countries on the continent, to take action on key technology solutions in four key areas. Skills, connectivity, small-to-medium enterprise (SME) digitization and hardware are examples.
“We’re excited about the potential for this collaboration to amp up Microsoft’s work on digital inclusion in Africa.” The digital economy is critical in spawning innovative new ventures that will provide long-term employment for young Africans. The more we can do to ensure that aspiring young entrepreneurs have every opportunity to participate in the digital economy, the closer we will be to building a more prosperous future for all,” Angela Kyerematen-Jimoh, Strategic Partnerships Lead, Microsoft ATO, concluded.