With the African Development Bank’s Youth Entrepreneurship Investment Banks (YEIB) Initiative, Microsoft is increasing its collaboration with the continent’s young business owners.
Microsoft’s African Transformation Office (ATO) will collaborate with the bank to expand opportunities for young entrepreneurs to start businesses, employ locals, and increase the continent’s economic growth and social welfare through increased access to digital technologies.
By 2050, Africa’s youthful population is projected to double, to 830 million. Even though 10–12 million young people enter the labor force every year on the African continent, only a little over 3 million new jobs are created.
Youth entrepreneurship will go a long way toward solving the employment challenge, but there are still significant barriers to overcome, including a lack of investment, affordable access to financing, and quality business development services.
General Manager of Microsoft Africa Regional Cluster Wael Elkabbany believes much can be done to help foster youth entrepreneurship through collaboration with the African Development Bank, driving greater economic inclusion for this key segment of the population, and ultimately building a more prosperous society. “Already we’ve seen considerable success partnering together on initiatives like Coding for Employment which aims to equip millions of African youth with employable skills, ultimately creating broadscale employment.”
“The strengthening of our partnership with Microsoft on the Youth Entrepreneurship Investment Banks (YEIB) is an important development in our journey towards harnessing Africa’s demographic dividend and facilitating the creation of millions of jobs for young Africans by 2025,” said Solomon Quaynor, the vice president of the African Development Bank’s private sector, infrastructure, and industrialization department. “The initiative focuses attention where it needs to be: on youth entrepreneurship, which is crucial to meeting our lofty employment goals”
Through a public-private collaboration model, the partnership hopes to increase the availability of technical and financial aid to young business owners across the country. To better anchor and integrate efforts to develop entrepreneurship ecosystems in Africa, the African Development Bank established the Youth Entrepreneurship Investment Bank as a unique value proposition.
As part of this program, the bank will convene a wide range of stakeholders, both monetary and otherwise, to play a part in assisting young business owners in various ways, including through mentoring, coaching, information sharing, and other means.
A funding scheme, credit guarantee scheme, and technical assistance programs will be established by the Youth Entrepreneurship Investment Bank in partnership with the private sector and other partners to better support entrepreneurs. If you want to encourage young people to start businesses, this initiative will push for policy changes that improve the conditions in which young people can do so.
Microsoft plans to implement four strategic technology solutions by leveraging its partner ecosystem, which spans 54 African countries. Some of these are training and education; establishing and maintaining reliable connections; digitizing and equipping small and medium-sized businesses; and hardware.
The partnership’s career pathway and learning content will help young people gain access to economic opportunity and employability skills. Among these methods is utilizing previously established online learning systems like Coding for Employment. Youth will benefit from the initiative because trainers will be developed and put into place to help them succeed in their respective fields.
The partnership will create efficient infrastructure models to close the digital divide by capitalizing on proven connectivity solutions like Microsoft’s Airband. At the same time, it will provide direct or indirect funding to other creative market solutions.
The Digitization of Small and Medium-Sized Businesses
By providing easier access to curated learning content, certifications, business solutions, business skills, and specialized digital skills, the partnership also aims to improve SME digital literacy and business skills. We’ll be working with LinkedIn and using MS Learn and the Cloud Academy to make this happen. The company’s partnerships will also make it easier for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to gain access to financial resources that will help them go digital.
Microsoft and its business partners will facilitate small and medium-sized enterprises’ (SMEs) access to bundled hardware solutions. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will also receive price breaks when they buy Microsoft products.
The partnership is also crucial to Microsoft’s Africa Training Organization’s goal of empowering 30 million Africans with digital skills through scalable initiatives and investments that benefit 10 million SMEs.