Events Promote Youth Entrepreneurship in Africa

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  • 2016•09•06     Nairobi

    Speakers and participants at the Youth Entrepreneurship Forum in Nairobi, 28 August 2016.  Photo: Witu-tech

    Speakers at the Youth Entrepreneurship Forum in Nairobi, 28 August 2016. Photo: Witu-tech

    In late August 2016 UNU organized a forum and a workshop in Nairobi, promoting the role of youth entrepreneurship in sustainable industrialisation in Africa.

    The Youth Entrepreneurship Forum on 28 August, focused on the topic “Catalyzing the Next Generation for Africa’s Sustainable Industrialisation”, was held as a side event of the Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI). Organized by UNU in collaboration with the Government of Kenya and the African Development Bank (AfDB), the forum brought together around 120 people, including young entrepreneurs and researchers. Keynote speeches were delivered by Akinwumi Adesina (President, AfDB) and Sicilly Kariyuki (Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs, Government of Kenya). They were followed by a panel discussion featuring Peter Mbithi (Vice Chancellor, University of Nairobi), Kevit Desai (Kenya Private Sector Alliance), Assie Lumumba (Professor, Cornell University) and a South African entrepreneur, Kgatlhanye Thato (CEO, Rethaka). The forum ended with a closing statement by Kazuhiko Takeuchi (Senior Vice Rector, UNU), which endorsed recommendations by young entrepreneurs and researchers to pursue collaboration for the promotion of sustainable industrialisation in Africa.

    The Africa Youth Entrepreneurship Workshop was held prior to the forum, on 25–27 August at the KCB Leadership Centre in Nairobi. It was organized by UNU-IAS, the University of Nairobi and the University of Tokyo’s Graduate School of Public Policy – Global Leadership Initiative (GPSS-GLI), with the support of AfDB. Participants, including 30 young entrepreneurs and 25 young researchers from Africa, received lectures, engaged in group discussions and visited the factory of a Kenyan entrepreneur. The workshop’s conclusions and recommendations for further collaboration between young entrepreneurs and researchers were subsequently presented at the Youth Entrepreneurship Forum. These recommendations included (i) developing a collaboration network, (ii) expanding and increasing the number of business incubation centres in Africa, and (iii) developing and testing entrepreneurial training courses to be hosted by African higher education institutions, such as an “African MBA”.

    These events were part of the UNU-IAS Education for Sustainable Development in Africa (ESDA) project, which promotes capacity building for sustainability in the region, by supporting development of three collaborative master’s degree programmes established by eight African universities.