The International Youth Foundation (IYF) and Google.org have joined hands to provide young individuals in South Africa, Kenya, and Nigeria with digital and entrepreneurial skills to enable them to secure alternative sources of livelihood.
IYF South Africa with the support and funding of Google.org is currently deploying various programs for young people in the three African countries, which has had an impact in providing them access to digital and entrepreneurial skills and experiences to thrive economically.
Through its high-impact training, IYF South Africa is making a substantial contribution to enabling young people with key skills to develop their entrepreneurial skills through continuous investment made by organizations in IT across all sectors and given that unemployment is on the rise in Sub-Saharan Africa, young people are becoming more robust in seeking alternative opportunities to secure livelihood.
Participating youth are taught business, technical, and life skills as part of the skills for success(S4S) program that will result in an increased demand for highly skilled youth in the IT sector as well as the move towards the development of curricula that reflects constant innovation and change that is occurring in the IT field, and as a result, young people will need IT skills to be successful in a variety of careers.
Speaking on the program, IYF SA’s Country Director, Anusha Naicker, said, “The entrepreneurial component of the program provides guidance and business acumen that is essential for business success. As a result, there is growing confidence among young African entrepreneurs that they can start a business that solves many of the challenges facing their communities.”
Entrepreneurship is marked by job creation rather than job seeking and is one of the young people’s most sought-after career paths. The entrepreneurial career path creates meaningful and rewarding opportunities for youth and is therefore a great way for the young generation to explore their areas of interest.
Further, entrepreneurship offers innovative solutions for economic growth and can be a powerful tool to help fight youth unemployment, particularly in developing countries.
Many learners have pursued entrepreneurial career paths after completing the program, with at least 40 percent, through perseverance, networking skills, and passion, finding employment in all three countries.
Undoubtedly, entrepreneurship is a powerful tool for empowering young people by celebrating their creativity and technological aptitude.
“This program taught me the basics of UX design, the design thinking process, how to build prototypes for testing with users, conduct UX research, and design responsive websites. With this knowledge, my design skills keep improving daily, and I can see myself making a living doing what I love,” says Diane Shamaki, a learner from Nigeria (Paradigm Initiative).
Sub-Saharan Africa has the youngest population in the world and in the next 30 years, 60 percent of Africans will be under the age of 25. Consequently, having a young population brings many economic growth and innovation opportunities, if these opportunities can be recognized and utilized.
The youth demonstrate the necessary qualities and mindset to succeed as entrepreneurs as their intuitive ability to navigate technology makes entrepreneurship an ideal career option, given the impact technology will have on entrepreneurial growth.
The emphasis, a powerful tool for addressing the rising youth unemployment rate is using micro, small, and medium-sized businesses which include a significant portion of young entrepreneurs and make up 95 percent of all firms and create 80 percent of all jobs in Africa.
The World Bank claims that young people frequently work in sectors that are expanding quickly and are more likely to hire their peers thus, when youth-led businesses have the right knowledge, skills, mentorship, funding, and supportive policies, they can grow economies and create jobs.
Furthermore, entrepreneurship among youth is praised for its ability to create jobs and empower young people and for its ability to integrate young people into society, especially those with fewer opportunities.
In addition to providing young people with the necessary skills and experiences to thrive economically, youth entrepreneurship also contributes to their countries’ prosperity.
The IYF is cultivating future industry leaders in Africa as graduates from this program emerge with improved skills, which increase their employability.
Moreover, Skills for Success is positively changing lives and communities through its placement partners, who provide work opportunities for newly qualified youth.
Since its inception 30 years ago, IYF has been able to reach 7.7 million young people while working with more than 600 local partners in over 100 countries.