The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank has approved a grant of $5 million to enable the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme to scale up its outreach and impact to 1,000 select youth entrepreneurs.
The grant follows the signing of a letter of intent between the Bank and the Tony Elumelu Foundation, which took place during the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme launch in March this year. The partnership will bring about future collaboration focused on strengthening small to medium-sized enterprises as well as talent and skills development for Africa’s youth.
The partnership will support 3,050 young entrepreneurs across 54 African countries. The Bank’s participation will enable an additional 1,000 entrepreneurs to benefit from the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Program, which provides much needed opportunities to help stem the rising tide of unemployment and inequality facing the continent’s youngest citizens.
The programme aligns with the Bank’s ten-year Jobs for Youth in Africa strategy launched in 2016, to support the creation of 25 million decent jobs across the continent. The strategy is also expected to equip 50 million young African people with employable skills that enable them to access economic opportunities and realize their full economic potential across the continent.
The Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme will deliver business training, mentoring, access to networks, markets and capital for business development to selected youth-led start-ups in order for them to grow and create jobs.
The Entrepreneurship Programme demonstrates a strong alignment with the Bank’s Youth Entrepreneurship and Innovation Multi-Donor Trust Fund objectives to build the African youth entrepreneurship ecosystem by scaling innovative youth led start-ups, expanding youth market opportunities and improving youth access to finance.
Other development partners involved in supporting the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme are Agence Française de Développement, the German Agency for International Cooperation, the United Nations Development Programme and the International Committee of the Red Cross. They will also work to provide more business opportunities to youth entrepreneurs across the continent.
In 2017, the Bank established the Youth Entrepreneurship and Innovation Multi-Donor Trust Fund, in partnership with the governments of Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Italy and the Netherlands. The fund is a grant vehicle managed by the Bank to support the African entrepreneurship ecosystem directly and indirectly by leveraging on the Bank’s instruments. Its interventions will equip Africa’s youth with the right tools to establish start-ups and micro, small and medium enterprises.