TechInAfrica – The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in collaboration with the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) launch a youth entrepreneurship program for the Sahel region of Africa. The program will give training, mentorship, and financial support for about 100,000 entrepreneurs in the Sahel region—Northern Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroun, Mauritania, Mali, and Burkina Faso—in 10 years.
The TEF-UNDP Sahel Youth Entrepreneurship Program is in line with the 1 Million by 2021 Initiative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, His Excellency Moussa Faki Mahamat. The initiative aims at reaching 1 million African youths across the continent, providing them with opportunities and interventions in major areas, including Education, Entrepreneurship, Employment, as well as Engagement (4Es) to drive socio-economic development in Africa.
Ahunna Eziakonwa, Assistant Secretary-General and UNDP Regional Director for Africa, speaking on the partnership: “We see the Sahel as a land of many opportunities and investing in the youth is a pre-condition to stabilizing the region.”
She continued, “The youth should be at the heart of any development agenda. We need to invest in their potential, talent, energy, and enthusiasm and create the opportunity for them to fully realize their dreams. That is why UNDP is co-creating development solutions by investing in entrepreneurship models to promote inclusive growth. Partnership with the Sahelian youth entrepreneur is a catalyst for transformation and sustainable development. We call on other private sector entities to join the Tony Elumelu Foundation to support young entrepreneurs.”
On the other hand, speaking for Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), the CEO Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu stated: “Our partnership with UNDP is welcome and timely. It will directly assist entrepreneurial success in a number of fragile areas and is a testament to the validated approach to philanthropy we have pioneered. Africa needs partners that do not only believe in the potential of its private sector to champion economic development but backs this with commitment. With this agreement, UNDP has proven to be a true partner to Africa’s entrepreneurs and has demonstrated its commitment to work with us to scale up the impact of this initiative and eliminate poverty on the continent.”