AFRICA – Global tech giant Microsoft has announced an expanded partnership with the African Development Bank’s Youth Entrepreneurship Investment Bank (YEIB) Initiative to support young African entrepreneurs.

Microsoft’s Africa Transformation Office has pledged to work with the bank to ensure growth in entrepreneurship ecosystems, creating jobs and scaling impact in Africa through digital inclusion.

“We believe much can be done to help foster youth entrepreneurship by collaborating with the African Development Bank, driving greater economic inclusion for this key segment of the population, and ultimately building a more prosperous society,” said the General Manager of Microsoft Africa Regional Cluster Wael Elkabbany.

It is believed that Africa’s youth population is set to grow twice its size to 830 million by 2050. However, with 10-12 million people joining the workforce every year and with only 3 million jobs available for them, many will be unemployed.

Through this initiative, the bank will bring together all relevant financial and non-financial parties and partners to play their respective roles in supporting youth entrepreneurs through mentorship, coaching, knowledge and experience sharing, and more.

The Youth Entrepreneurship Investment Bank will also collaborate with players from both the public and private sectors to create a funding scheme and technical assistance programs to strengthen providers of services to entrepreneurs.

Microsoft on its part is set to leverage its partner ecosystem, which covers 54 countries across the continent, to action on key technology solutions across four key areas.

These include skilling, connectivity, small-to-medium enterprise (SME) digitization and hardware.

To connect youth to economic opportunity and employability skills, the partnership will provide them with career pathways and learning content

This includes the use of existing e-learning platforms such as Coding for Employment. The initiative also aims to build the capacity of Enterprise Services Organizations, benefitting youth through the training of trainers.

The partnership also aims to improve SME digital literacy and business skills by creating access to curated learning content, certifications, business solutions, business skills and specialized digital skills.

This will be driven in partnership with LinkedIn and through skilling programs such as MS Learn and the Cloud Academy.

Access to finance for digitally enabled SMEs will also be facilitated through Microsoft partnerships.

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