The African Development Bank’s (AFDB’s) Fund for African Private Sector Assistance (FAPA) has provided US $2 million to support its Jobs for Youth in Africa initiative.

On the FAPA, of which the Government of Japan is a major donor, along with the Austrian Government and the African Development Bank, will contribute $923,570 and $988,202 to finance the bank’s ‘Fashionomics Africa Digital Marketplace’ and ‘Entrepreneurship & Innovation Lab (eLab)’ programmes, respectively.

The AfDB stated that both programmes formed key components of its Jobs for Youth in Africa Strategy, which invests in high-growth sectors with potential to promote youth and women’s empowerment, as well as create 25 million jobs over the next decade.

In her remarks during the funding announcement event with the theme ‘Entrepreneurs 2.0 – When fashion meets technology’, Director of Women, Gender and Civil Society Department at the Bank, Vanessa Moungar, noted that “Africa hosts the world’s youngest population, which will double to almost one billion by 2050. The continent needs to create jobs much faster, particularly for women and youth.”

She predicted that “FAPA’s generous support will go a long way to accelerating the Jobs for Youth Entrepreneurship & Innovation Lab and Fashionomics Africa Digital Marketplace programmes that contribute to meeting these needs.”

The two programmes align with FAPA’s vision to create an investment-friendly climate for micro, small and medium-scale enterprises (MSMEs) on the continent and they will also provide platforms for strengthening and promoting entrepreneurship that target women and youth-led businesses.

Launched in 2015, the Bank’s Fashionomics Africa initiative supports it’s ‘High 5’ priorities, in particular, the Jobs for Youth in Africa and Industrialisation agenda.

FAPA’s latest support for this initiative will enable the development of the digital platform and application designed to increase and facilitate access to markets and finance; provide access to relevant information, mentorship and networking opportunities as well as develop the skills, competencies and qualifications of African designers and fashion entrepreneurs.

The eLab programme will provide innovative young entrepreneurs with financing, technical assistance and broader ecosystem support.

Commenting on the initiative, the bank’s Manager for Public Health, Security and Nutrition, Babatunde Omilola, said that wth eLab, AfDB aims to support the next generation of business owners across the continent.

“Target beneficiaries are businesses started by young people and intermediaries that support business development, focusing on the three sectors identified as priorities by the Jobs for Youth in Africa strategy, namely agriculture, Information and Communication Technology and industry”, he added.

Addressing the bank’s staff and guests, the Bank’s Executive Director for Japan, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Austria and Brazil, Mr Takuji Yano, explained that “both projects focus on promoting entrepreneurship and ICT tools as drivers for development.

“By leveraging technology, African countries can enhance understanding of markets, expand education and employment, and deliver monetary benefits for the informal sector and government alike. We are happy to see this diverse, innovative and creative portfolio of FAPA’s proposals”, Yano added