THE Mastercard Foundation has announced Young Africa Works in Ghana, an initiative that aims to enable three million young people to access dignified and fulfilling work by 2030.
The initiative is aligned with the government’s An Agenda for Jobs: Creating Prosperity and Equal Opportunity for All, and Ghana’s commitment to positioning the country as a global entrepreneurship and technology hub. Young Africa Works in Ghana was co-designed in partnership with a diverse group of stakeholders that include the government, the private sector, academic institutions, and young people. The Mastercard Foundation has made an initial $200 million, five-year commitment to building a network of entrepreneurs and a digitally literate, innovative community of young people.
Young Africa Works is the Mastercard Foundation’s strategy to enable 30 million young Africans, 70 percent of whom will be young women, to access dignified and fulfilling work. Learning from its work in 34 countries on the continent over the past decade, the Foundation will now deepen its engagement in 10 African countries. Its programmes will support entrepreneurs, small and medium-sized businesses, and key growth sectors leading to greater productivity, job creation, and work opportunities.
Ghana has been identified as a country of focus as it has a strong policy framework that supports economic and social development. National initiatives designed to ease the cost of doing business, attract investment, leverage technology, and improve access to education are currently underway. Ghana also possesses a vibrant private sector and entrepreneurship culture and the country ranks first globally in terms of enterprises owned by women (46 percent of Ghana’s total).
‘We have listened to the aspirations of young people in Ghana and they are creative, resilient, and determined to contribute to the economic and social well-being of their country,’ says Reeta Roy, Mastercard Foundation President and CEO. ‘Young Africa Works builds upon the country’s economic agenda and momentum to drive transformative change that will lead to improved livelihoods and prosperity.’
With more than 35 percent of the population aged 15-34 and youth unemployment at 12 percent, the Foundation will work closely with local partners to spur change that is critical for growth and job creation. Young Africa Works in Ghana will focus on three priorities, including:
- Enabling the growth of women-owned enterprises through business development services, access to finance, and access to markets.
- Enabling young people to acquire skills that are needed by businesses in growing sectors of the economy and strengthening the quality of education to prepare students for the world of work.
- Scaling digital training and strengthening technology-focused employment opportunities.