The Mastercard Foundation Think Tank recently released findings from a peer to peer research report that provides some key insights into youth employment and entrepreneurship trends in East Africa. The Youth Tank which was established in 2012 to ensure that young people are meaningfully engaged in improving their economic opportunities in Africa has demonstrated the “dedication and energy of young people to seek positive change within their communities.” That is according to Ann Miles Director, Financial Inclusion and Youth Livelihoods at The MasterCard Foundation, as newsghana reports.
“Their research is an important piece of work that will help to inform not only the Foundation’s strategy for expanding youth economic opportunities, but also governments and policymakers in the youth development space.”
The report revealed that young people in East Africa are committed to improving their skill set and are taking proactive steps to do so such as volunteering and using ICT to acquire the skills they need for employment. Additionally it said that young people in rural are carefully considering employment opportunities in agriculture rather than migrating to urban centres as used to be the norm. Limited access to financial services and limited business management skills, however are the challenges that they face.
Another insight highlighted by the report is that young people appreciate the efforts that are being made by the East African government initiatives to advance youth employment. On the other hand it recognized that there were many missing components like individual rather than group loans and business skills training. There are a number of barriers such as gender inequality, limited access to land and to information and technology that hinder the youth’s ability to earn a sustainable means of living.
When the Think Tank was established, the MasterCard Foundation in partnership with Restless Development recruited, trained and supported 15 youth from Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya to conduct research in their respective communities on the challenges and opportunities facing youth when they enter the labour market. Greg Lavender, Uganda Country Director for Restless Development said that:
“Young people were in charge throughout the process that led to this report.In addition to learning from the findings, we hope that others will be inspired to fully engage young people as leaders in shaping and delivering youth-focused initiatives.”
Read more here.