Nigeria, four other countries to pilot AfDB’s entrepreneurship lab
The E-Lab is part of the AfDB’s ‘Boost Africa’ strategy, an initiative designed to promote commercially-viable entrepreneurship and innovative ideas and businesses.
Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, Kenya and Côte d’ Ivoire have been selected to pilot the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) Entrepreneurship Lab (E-Lab) for innovative young entrepreneurs. According to a statement released by the bank on Thursday, the E-lab will provide young entrepreneurs with financing, technical assistance and broader ecosystem support through incubators, accelerators, and fund managers.
The E-Lab is part of the AfDB’s ‘Boost Africa’ strategy, a joint initiative between the bank and the European Investment Bank (EIB). The aim of the strategy is to promote commercially-viable entrepreneurship and innovative ideas and businesses.
The bank also said it signed two agreements with the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) on the sidelines of the AfDB’s 2019 Annual Meetings, which held in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, last week. Under the agreement, SECO has contributed three million Swiss francs to the E-Lab and 200,000 Swiss francs to the Urban and Municipal Development Fund for Africa (UMDF), which helps African cities to plan and manage urban growth and climate-resilient development by improving governance and basic services.
“These days, it is important that partners work together…to put talents together in a complementary fashion”, said Raymund Furrer, Switzerland’s Governor on the AfDB’s Board of Governors and SECO’s Head of Multilateral Cooperation. “The two areas [we’ve contributed] are forward-leaning and positive for the African continent”.
According to the latest AfDB’s Economic Outlook Report, between 11 and 13 million more young people will join the labour force in Africa. However, only three million will secure employment. Experts have said successful entrepreneurship is key to Africa’s job crisis, economic growth and job creation.
AfDB said more than 20 per cent of Africa’s working age population are starting new businesses. Also, businesses with fewer than 20 employees and who have less than five years of experience provide most of the jobs in Africa’s formal sector. The ‘Boost Africa’ strategy, which has received support from the European Commission, is a component of the AfDB’s Jobs for Youth in Africa strategy (2016-2025), which has the objective of creating 25 million jobs by catalysing private sector investment.
The AfDB’s Vice President for Finance and Chief Finance Officer, Bajabulile Swazi Tshabalala, commended Switzerland for the two agreements and for being a long-standing partner of the bank. Switzerland joined the African Development Fund in 1972 and has been a full member of the AfDB since 1982.
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