How youth entrepreneurial development can uplift Africa

Africa is documented as a third-world continent with great economic potential. Nigeria, Egypt, South Africa, Algeria and Morocco are listed among the countries with the highest gross domestic product growth rate. However, development remains a critical challenge for these emerging economies. This is due to numerous factors, such as the lack of socio-economic infrastructure and funding to stimulate change. 

This presents an opportunity for a renewed focus on the importance of entrepreneurship development, particularly for the youth. Numerous studies have indicated that entrepreneurship is key in driving sustainable economic growth. The youth in Africa, aged 15-24, is recorded as the largest and growing proportion of the population and projected to increase by 42 per cent by 2030. According to this population report, youth can be a positive force for development when provided with the knowledge and opportunities they need to thrive. 

What does youth entrepreneurial development entail?

Entrepreneurship drives innovation, thereby offering new products and services that meet the current demands of the market. It also plays a central role in the creation of job opportunities, ultimately contributing to productivity, regional and national economy. 

Therefore, driving youth entrepreneurial development is critical and refers to enhancing young entrepreneurs’ knowledge and skills through coaching and training programmes. Building youth development skills involves providing youth access to resources and networks that encourage radical transformation.

How does entrepreneurial development benefit youth?

The pressing challenge for African youth is access to sustainable employment. Millions of African youth with degrees are either sitting jobless or working menial jobs to make ends meet. Some find it difficult to navigate employment due to a lack of practical training on how to effectively carry out their roles as employees and managers. Others have tried and remained unsuccessful in their entrepreneurial ventures due to a lack of sufficient support and lack of knowledge on running equitable and successful businesses.

The role of development is to offer the youth opportunities to voice the challenges they face in their daily lives, both as individuals and employees or business owners. The development is an active intervention that equips the youth with information, resources and skills to turn their ideas into practical businesses. It’s done through a variety of youth empowerment programmes. It also provides them with ongoing mentorship to ensure that the knowledge and skills gained from these programmes are translated into their entrepreneurial endeavours. 

The role of youth in entrepreneurship development is to be responsive to the gained knowledge and skills and leverage them throughout their self-employment journeys. 

DBSA’s role in entrepreneurial development in Africa

Infrastructure investment in South Africa is a growing challenge. This is why our primary purpose as the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) is to promote inclusive and sustainable socio-economic development, growth and regional integration through infrastructure development. All aimed at improving the quality of life for people in Africa. This includes addressing the needs of the youth. While we’re mainly active in the infrastructure space at the level of education, where we focus on projects that implement educational infrastructure, we’re also responsible for stimulating progress in many government initiatives designed to bring measurable development impact. 

This is why we find ways to involve the youth in finding innovative solutions to infrastructure problems that will directly influence their future. To drive this mandate towards success, we’ve collaborated with the Youth Employment Services (YES) on the development of youth precincts modelled on the YES Hub concepts, which is aimed at bringing together innovation, infrastructure, 4IR thinking and a commitment to jobs for youth in the township and peri-urban communities. The hubs aim to foster new centres of economic activity and growth within disadvantaged communities through developing economic value chains and market access to attract, create and retain economic value within the communities themselves. 

Final thoughts

Youth entrepreneurial development can play a significant role in uplifting Africa and growing the GDP of the developing nations within this continent. The public and private sectors can work collaboratively to ensure the success of this goal