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Mastercard Foundation to empower 30 million African youth

BY: Graphic Business
Mrs Kafui Mills-Odoi
Mrs Kafui Mills-Odoi

The Lead, Youth Engagement of Mastercard Foundation, Mrs Kafui Mills-Odoi, has underscored its commitment to support African governments in finding solutions to Africa’s youth unemployment challenge.

One of Mastercard’s key interventions in resolving the unemployment challenge, she explained, was the Young Africa Works strategy, an intervention which would target 30 million young Africans in the next decade.

“The Young Africa Works strategy sets out an ambitious goal for the next decade: by 2030, our work will enable 30 million young people in Africa, especially young women, to secure employment they see as dignified and fulfilling.

“Using youth employment as a key measure of socio-economic progress, we aim to help millions of people to find a pathway out of poverty,” she stated during a virtual E-LEAD Conference which is an online mentoring programme for young women.

The conference was part of the COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Programme (CoRe), which is an initiative of the Springboard Road Show Foundation, in partnership with Solidaridad and the Mastercard Foundation.

Optimism for Africa’s future

Mrs Mills-Odoi said: “Young Africa Works, the foundation’s strategy for the next decade, reflects our optimism for Africa’s future. It builds on our experience in financial inclusion and education and training, using youth employment as an indicator of our progress in improving lives.”

She explained that in Africa, the world’s youngest continent, youth employment was a particularly important measure of poverty reduction.

“The strategy is a natural extension of our learning from our first decade and is the result of extensive consultation with leaders of African governments, private sector organisations, educational institutions, civil society, and, most importantly, young people themselves.

“As part of the strategy, we will deepen our engagement in some countries to better understand their economic aspirations and identify priority sectors for growth.”

She said working with governments and the private sector, the Mastercard Foundation would develop a long-term plan for each country of focus that would pay attention to very critical areas.

She said the focus would be on improving the quality of education and vocational training so that the young people would be equipped with the skills employers needed; leverage technology to connect employers and job seekers and drive growth; as well as enable entrepreneurs and small businesses to expand through access to financial services.

Life possibilities

The Executive Director of the Springboard Road Show, Mrs Comfort Ocran, said achieving great things in life was always possible.

“We don’t need to get any permission to lead because it’s a core value. It’s achievable to achieve those dreams not just because you have a dream, but also that you have the tools and you put in the necessary efforts to ensure that you can achieve that,” she said.

She added that the conference was part of a rollout activity aimed at equipping over 700,000 youth in Ghana to survive and thrive during COVID-19.