Ndidi writes on Fostering Entrepreneurship and Job Creation for African Youth
On March 9th, 2021, the African business landscape was buzzing with excitement and optimism in reaction to the news that Flutterwave, a payments company, had closed its Series C fundraising round at $170 million, valuing the company at over $1 billion. Founded in 2014 by a team of young Nigerians, this company already has 290,000 businesses using its platform and is active in 20 African countries.
While there are a growing number of success stories like Flutterwave, which are leveraging technology and innovation to scale, creating hundreds of sustainable jobs, 1 in 5of the 400 million youth remain unemployed, and a much greater number are under-employed. In fact, the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics recently reported a 33% unemployment rate in a country where over 70% of the population is under 35 years old. These high levels of unemployment, further worsened by the economic shocks linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, are fostering the growing insecurity in the country, with many young people being forced into terrorist and kidnapping groups to survive.
There is an urgent need to foster entrepreneurship and the scaling of resilient businesses that will provide decent jobs, especially for young Africans. This will require coordinated action by key stakeholders in the public, private and nonprofit sectors and development community to create an enabling policy environment, close the skills and training gaps, and provide training, mentoring, and catalytic financing to support a vibrant and thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Read more: Cornell Policy Review