The African Development Bank (AfDB) has warned that 100 million youths who would be new entrants into the labour market will be unemployed by 2030 if the current trend reversed.
In its African Economic Outlook report, the bank predicted that most of the jobs will be generated by the informal sector where “productivity and wages are low and work is insecure, making the eradication of extreme poverty by 2030 a difficult task”.
To combat this, the state secretariat for Economic Affairs of the Government of the Swiss Confederation (SECO) and the bank signed two agreements to fund African initiatives.
SECO contributed three million Swiss francs (CHF) to the Entrepreneurship Lab (E-Lab) for innovative young entrepreneurs and 200,000CHF to the Urban & Municipal Development Fund for Africa (UMDF), which helps African cities plan and manage urban growth and climate-resilient development.
“These days it’s important that partners work together to put talents together in a complementary fashion. These are two areas which are forward-leaning and positive for the African continent,” said Raymund Furrer, bank governor for Switzerland, who signed on behalf of SECO at the Sipopo Conference Centre in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.
Bajabulile Swazi Tshabalala, AfDB’s vice president for finance signed on behalf of the bank.
“Our partnership goes beyond the consistent and strong support of the two main windows of the Bank Group … Let me then take this opportunity to thank Switzerland for these two very valuable contributions, but also, for being a long-standing partner of the Bank Group,” Tshabalala said.
The E-Lab, which is a part of the Boost Africa initiative, provides young entrepreneurs with financing, technical assistance, and broader ecosystem support through incubators, accelerators and fund managers.
Five countries have been identified to pilot the E-Lab: Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, and South Africa.
Boost Africa is part of the bank’s Jobs for Youth in Africa Strategy, which aims to create 25 million jobs in 10 years.
The initiative was launched in partnership with the African Development Bank and the European Investment Bank to improve entrepreneurship in Africa.
Switzerland joined the African Development Fund in 1972 and has been a full member of the African Development Bank since 1982.