JOHANNESBURG - The Anzisha Prize, the MasterCard Foundation and the African Leadership Academy this week released a report that suggests it is possible to create 1 million job opportunities by 2030 for unemployed African youth.
The report also highlighted 11 key entrepreneurship lessons.
The report found that young Africans were three times more likely than the generation before them to be unemployed, and this was before the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Statistics South Africa said the unemployment rate was 32.5 percent in the October-December quarter, with 7.2 million people unemployed, up from 30.8 percent in the preceding three months. The figure was the highest since the survey began in 2008.
Covid-19 has decimated the small business sector. A year into South Africa’s lockdown, the recent results of the BeyondCOVID Business Survey, conducted by specialist management consultancy Redflank, found that 26 percent of small, medium and micro enterprises reported being forced to close their doors, 7 percent permanently, with forecasts that they expected to lay off 1.2 million staff over the next six months.
However, the report “Unlocking Africa’s hidden job creators: lessons from 10 years of supporting transitions from education to entrepreneurship in Africa” highlights 11 key lessons that inform how early-career entrepreneurs could be supported.
It said a decade-long fact-finding report compiled by the Anzisha Prize, Africa’s premier entrepreneurship programme, has found that if parents could be convinced that entrepreneurship could result in “job security”, they would view entrepreneurship as a viable post-secondary option, thus encouraging their children to consider the entrepreneurial route for their futures.
Josh Adler, the executive director of the Anzisha Prizee, said: “Our research and data over the last 10 years have proved that very young African entrepreneurs are exceptional at creating work opportunities for other youth.”
The report looks at how to champion “entrepreneurship as a career” to solve unemployment among African youth.
The Anzisha Prize said it had supported 142 African youth through a fellowship programme, and to date the entrepreneurs had created more than 2 500 jobs.
Daniel Hailu, the regional head, Eastern and Southern Africa Mastercard Foundation, said young people had the ideas, the ambition, and the energy required to launch and scale problem-solving enterprises that become engines of economic growth and opportunity.
“All they need is support. These lessons from the Anzisha Prize’s model of delivering that support can be adopted by other institutions —including education institutions — that are interested in cultivating entrepreneurial skills among young people,” he said.
The 11 lessons are:
1. Young people create jobs for other young people.
2. Entrepreneurship has a branding problem in Africa.
3. Investing in story reach improves programme economics.
We must be deliberately inclusive, because very young entrepreneurs are everywhere:
4. When young women entrepreneurs are purposefully sought, they are easily found.
5. Equitable contests require more than a diverse panel of judges.
We must focus on secondary education, because this is when career planning starts.
6. Entrepreneurship is learned through practice.
7. High school educators should guide young people towards entrepreneurial opportunities.
8. By teaching others, youth build entrepreneurial confidence.
Co-ordinated movement could create 1 million dignified work opportunities by 2030.
9. The policy spaces of education, small enterprise and youth must align.
10. Markets open when trust is borrowed.
11. Supporting parents will enable very young entrepreneurs.