Africa—The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa established in 1958 to encourage economic cooperation among its member states has collaborated with the International Chamber of Commerce to launch a centre of entrepreneurship in Africa, under the theme, “Creating Livelihoods for Inclusion.”
With strategic locations across Africa, the ECA-ICC Centres of Entrepreship will work with various stakeholders, including businesses, the Chamber of commerce, academic institutions, intergovernmental and governmental agencies, to connect local entrepreneurs to global markets and enhance regulatory conditions for SMEs to thrive.
The business centres aim at developing the skills of young people who face uncertain employment prospects to mentoring local startups and entrepreneurs. The centres are expected to develop the next generation of African business leaders.
“The launch of the Centres of Entrepreneurship comes at the right time when Africa is trying to build back better from the effects of Covid-19.
“We believe that these centres based in different regions of the continent, with tailored-made solutions, can mobilize the next generation of entrepresship in Africa.” Said Oliver Chingaya, Director of Africa Centre for Statistics.
Chinganya further said that the centres will provide Micro, Small Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) with tools and pathways to expand their business and play an effective role in the goods and services supply chain.
They will also provide pathways to accelerate women and youth empowerment a necessary action to accelerate Africa’s growth and recovery from the pandemic.
ECA data shows that MSMEs, often women and youth-owned, account for approximately 98% of all firms and 60% of private-sector employment in African counties.
They are a fundamental part of the economic fabric of African economies. The youngest and smallest SMEs contribute to 22% of net job creation on the continent.
He added that Africa has the highest rate of new business creation and that youth on the continent are 1.6% times likely to be entrepreneurs addressing challenges of high youth under and unemployment.
The entrepreneurship centres will inspire future entrepreneurs through skills development, digitalization and mentorship critical for women and youth to overcome traditional barriers to accessing networks.