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Give opportunities to youth entrepreneurs - African govts urged

BY: Rebecca Quaicoe Duho

The fourth Child and Youth Finance Regional Meeting has opened in Accra, with a call on African governments and stakeholders in the financial sector to give opportunities to youth entrepreneurs.

The Chairman of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), Professor Kwesi Botchwey, who made the call, said that would help curb youth unemployment in Ghana and Africa as a whole.

 

According to him, one of the greatest challenges on the continent was the exploitation of the potential of the youth.

The two-day meeting, which is on the theme: “Advancing youth economic empowerment for inclusive growth”, has brought together economic experts, researchers, business leaders, entrepreneurs, government representatives, non-governmental organisations, civil society organisations, as well as the youth and youth entrepreneurs.

The participants are drawn from Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Algeria, Morocco, India, The Netherlands and Australia.

 Youth financing

It was organised by Child and Youth Finance International (CYFI), a Netherlands-based global network dedicated to increasing financial inclusion and economic citizenship education for children and the youth across the world, in collaboration with the Micro-finance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC) and the Youth Enterprise Support (YES) programme.

Prof. Botchwey, who noted that youth unemployment abound in Africa, said if nothing was done, it would become the challenge for the future.

He was of the view that financing the youth today was the way forward for the future.

Nana Oye Lithur, who represented President John Dramani Mahama, said the government, in consultation with stakeholders, was developing a financial inclusion strategy as a means of deepening financial inclusiveness across the financial sector.

She said the strategy, when completed, would provide an opportunity to mobilise informal sector savings, provide a framework for insurance and pensions industries to mobilise and invest funds, as well as promote financial literacy and public awareness, among others.

 Financial inclusion

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MASLOC, Mrs Sedina Tamakloe Attionu, in a welcome address, said financial inclusion was one way by which inclusive growth could be achieved, especially in Africa where a large section of the populace was unable or incompetent to participate in the formal banking financial sector.

Quoting statistics from the World Bank Group, she said an estimated two billion people across the world did not have access to formal financial services, while more than 50 per cent of adults in poor households were unbanked.

The CEO of YES, Mrs Helga Boadi, called for effective support structures for the youth to thrive in the areas of business and entrepreneurship.

 

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