AFRICA – As part of its initiative to help create jobs for the youth in Africa, France has partnered with Africa based start-ups and the Micro, Small and Medium Size Enterprises (MSMEs).

While speaking to journalists, Mr Djalal Khimdjee, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of PROPARCO- a French Development Agency (AFD) Group said  that 450 million African Youth  would soon enter the labour market and serious challenges would plague the continent if Jobs were not created for them.

He also noted that Africa is the continent with the largest proportion of entrepreneurs with 20 per cent of businesses offering new products or services.

This he said could be harnessed to provide jobs to many of Africa’s unemployed youth.

“Start-ups, micro, small and medium-sized enterprises play a crucial role in job creation, economic growth and innovation in developing and emerging countries,”Khimdjee said.

“SMEs account for 90 per cent of formal businesses, create 60 per cent jobs and contribute to around 40 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).”

Khamidjee however noted that despite the roles SMEs play, lack of adequate and suitable financing curbed their growth as well as  hindering the ambition of entrepreneurs.

He said as a result, the AFD Group launched the “Choose Africa” project with 2.5 billion Euros (about US$2.78 billion) to support them with loans tailored to their specific needs that would boost 10,000 African businesses by 2020.

The services that the Choose Africa program would focus on include financing and investment, strategic and technical support, supporting local entrepreneurial ecosystems and start-ups, and private equity investment for SMEs among others.

Madam Anne Sophie Ave, the French Ambassador said the Choose Africa Project was launched in 2018 to support companies including Ghanaian ones to grow and pass on to the next generations.

She noted that the French Government was impressed with the trustworthy, competitive, creative and talented nature of Ghanaian enterprises and was happy to support.

She said France had the political will to increase its investment in Africa by supporting its businesses with loans channeled through its partners based in the continent.

The initiative would not only support beneficiaries with money but also bring peers together for training and experience sharing.