Young African entrepreneurs have reason to be optimistic as the African Development Bank (AfDB) has announced investments worth close to USD 2 Mn in two initiatives. African tech entrepreneurs, as well as their counterparts in the clothing and agriculture industries, are believed to be targeted by the latest capital injection from the AfDB, which is expected to be facilitated by its Fund for African Private Sector Assistance (FAPA).
The Entrepreneurship and Innovation Lab Programs (eLab), as well as the Fashionomics Africa Digital Marketplace; an initiative that is designed as an eCommerce platform for fashion and textiles, are the areas that expected to benefit from the latest capital infusion from the AfDB — being vital arms of the bank’s very own “Jobs for Youth in Africa Strategy.”
The aforementioned strategy is built around funding investments in sectors that are identified as having high growth potential, while also fostering the empowerment of African youths and women. The Jobs for Youth in Africa strategy has set its sights on empowering a significant number of individuals, and it hopes to do this by creating up to 25 million jobs over the next ten years.
The earlier mentioned FAPA, which is expected to fuel the investments into both initiatives, is believed to be getting its financial muscle from the trio of the governments of Japan and Australia, alongside the ADB. Through FAPA, the Fashionomics Africa Digital Marketplace is expected to be buoyed by an investment to the tune of around USD 923 K, while the eLab program should see significant growth as about USD 988 K is set to be pumped into the development of its programs.
Vanessa Moungar, Director of Women, Gender, and Civil Society, AfDB, expressed her thoughts concerning the development, implying that FAPA will do a solid to the acceleration of both initiatives which she believes impacts the lives of both youths and women by putting them to jobs.
The vision of FAPA which is centered around creating the enabling environment that can support the growth of small African businesses can be thought to mirror those of the two initiatives which are on the receiving end of the investments. The programs are expected to go some way towards supporting initiatives that are considered to have the best interests of youth and women-led enterprises at heart, and thus, yield the most impact.
With the investment from FAPA, the Fashionomics Africa Digital Marketplace initiative now seems well-placed in its bid to further develop its platform and also make markets and finance more accessible to African entrepreneurs. On this front, FAPA also hopes to facilitate access to relevant information, mentorship, and networking opportunities to African designers and entrepreneurs in the fashion business, as this will serve to further hone their skills, as well as increase competence levels.
Babatunde Olumide Omilola, Manager for Public Health, Security, and Nutrition, AfDB, hinted at the perks which the eLab program could furnish young entrepreneurs with, citing technical assistance, broader ecosystem support, and finance as prime examples.
He also indicated that the program has businesses established by young African individuals and intermediaries that support the development of businesses at its focus, while stressing such sectors as information, agriculture, ICT, and industry, as the core areas of interest of the Jobs for Youth in Africa strategy.