AFRICAN ENTREPRENEURSHIP PROGRAMME: BUILDING AFRICA

Aliko Dangote and Olusegun Obasanjo

According to the Youth and the African Union Commission, about 65% of the total population of Africa are below the age of 35 years, and over 35% are between the ages of 15 and 35 years – making Africa the most youth full continent. By 2020, it is projected that out of 4 people, 3 will be on average 20 years old. About 10 million young African youth arrive each year on the labour market.

The question is where will they get jobs? In this day and age of entrepreneurship, the answer is simple : Self-employment. For a while now, youth all over the world have been encouraged to innovate and create their own businesses in order to become self-reliant, more so the African youth. However this is easier said than done. Where are they to get the necessary capital to take their ideas to the next level?

The answer has come in rare form as two powerful African men lending a hand to their younger sons and daughters across the continent.

Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and billionaire industrialist and richest man in Africa, Alhaji Aliko Dangote partnered with His Royal Highness Prince Andrew** to form the African Entrepreneurship Programme (AEP), which will serve as a link between young African entrepreneurs and African businesses seeking capital and global investors. The AEP will be a joint initiative of pitch@palace* (an initiative of the Duke of York) and The Global African Investment Summit (TGAIS).

With the aim of developing Africa’s private sector through adequate financing and mentoring, AEP will provide real-time support for young businesses and entrepreneurs selected by the programme. Entrepreneurs and start-ups that register for African Entrepreneurship Programme will pitch their business ideas to potential investors at The Global African Investment Summit taking place later in the year. Three of the participants will be selected to pitch at the Duke of York’s pitch@palace event in Central Hall, Westminster, London on December 1st and 2nd 2015.

This is a bold step in the right direction. Hopefully, it will provide the African youth with the opportunity to reach the goals they may not have had the chance to reach in previous years due to financial constraints.

To register for the programme, click here.

*The Duke of York founded Pitch@Palace to support Entrepreneurs with the amplification and acceleration of their business ideas by connecting them with potential supporters including CEOs, Angels, Mentors, and key Business Partners.

** Prince Andrew. Duke of York (born 19 February 1960), is the second son and third child of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

Photo credits: enterprise54.com

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