Madam Nathalie Akon Gabala, the Regional Director (West, Central and Northern Africa) of Mastercard Foundation, has disclosed that two (2) flagship programmes of the organisation and its partners, the Youth Economic Forum (YEF) and the Young Africa Works (YAW) can help young entrepreneurs realise their dreams.
This, she revealed, will serve as a good leverage to unlock entrepreneurial opportunities for young men and women within the agriculture sector in the country.
“Young Ghanaians are innovative, entrepreneurial and deeply passionate about creating a better future for themselves, their families, peers and communities.
“Therefore, to enable that process to continue, and to stimulate ripples of impact, Young Africa Works (YAW) in Ghana will work to unlock opportunities for young Ghanaian women and men over the next decade.”Nathalie Akon Gabala
Madam Gabala made this remark in her address during the 2021 Ghana Economic Forum under the theme ‘Strengthening Home Grown Policies to Underpin the National Digitalization Drive and Shared Financial Prosperity’.
According to Ms. Gabala, Mastercard Foundation has over the years played a major role in youth empowerment and skillset development programmes within the country, and has realised the deep passion, innovation, and entrepreneurship potentials of the Ghanaian youth.
However, she iterated that, lack of technical know-how and financial access, among others, have truncated some potentials, especially in agriculture; hence, it will continue its partnerships with key institutions to support the youth.
The Mastercard Foundation’s ‘Young Africa Works’ strategy, Ms. Gabala stated, seeks to create sustainable direct and indirect job opportunities for close to some three (3) million young people in Ghana by 2023.
Unlocking the full potential of the youth
Madam Gabala believes that by using platforms like the YEF to bring the youth together to seek their first-hand input and expectations into policy decisions, will fine-tune the YAW programme.
This, she believes, will help to unlock the full potential of identified value chains to create work opportunities for the Ghanaian youth.
“We [Mastercard Foundation] also see great value in joining forces with like-minded organisations to create platforms that allow young people to contribute to conversations that impact them, in areas of entrepreneurship, innovation, technology-adoption, access to finance and technical assistance.”Nathalie Akon Gabala
Madam Gabala urged youth across the country and continent to see this new era as their moment and take the platform as their best opportunity to contribute their quota to shaping the dialogues on national issues which truly matter to their wealth creation and financials.
According to Mastercard foundation, “Africa is the youngest and fastest-growing continent in the world. By 2030, the number of young people in the African labour force will increase to 375 million”.
“There is a significant gap between the number of young people seeking work and the limited opportunities available to them.
“Moreover, there is a mismatch between the skills of young people entering the workforce and the needs of employers.”Mastercard foundation
Also, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), revealed that population growth trajectory on the African continent means that by 2035, there will be more young Africans entering the workforce each year than in the rest of the world combined.