Women and Youth Entrepreneurship in Africa:
The Impact of Entrepreneurial Education on Development
Monday, 13 June 2016, 10.00am-1.00pm
Trusteeship Council Chamber, UNHQ, New York
The Permanent Mission of Italy to the United Nations, the Permanent Observer Mission of the African Union to the United Nations, the United Nations Office of the Special Adviser on Africa (OSAA), the Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, UN Women, the Permanent Missions of the Republic of Kenya and Ghana to the United Nations, and the E4Impact Foundation are organizing a high-level meeting on the theme “Women and Youth Entrepreneurship in Africa: The impact of entrepreneurial education on development.”
Over the past decade, Africa has been among the world’s fastest-growing regions, with improved governance and economic reforms helping to galvanize annual growth of more than 5% on average. The continent is home to a third of the planet’s mineral reserves and a tenth of the oil, while foreign direct investment (FDI) in the continent has grown in the past decade, despite global stagnation.
In spite of this promising data, unemployment in Africa was estimated at more than 15% in 2015, with some countries reaching up to 30% — a situation that has fuelled persistent poverty as well as economic migration due to the lack of local businesses able to generate employment opportunities.
While widespread unemployment on the continent has negatively affected virtually all segments of the population, it has most strongly affected women and youth. Gender gaps in employment are high, with women dominating informal sector employment and vulnerable work. In addition, African youth – both men and women – represent 60% of the continent’s unemployed, hindered by lack of employment opportunities and inadequate access to quality education and vocational training.
Recent developments, however, present new opportunities for transformative change for women and youth in Africa. 2015 marked the adoption of historic agendas for the continent at both the global and regional levels, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the African Union’s Agenda 2063, the continent’s 50 year transformative agenda for development, peace and security, and its First Ten-Year Implementation Plan.
The event will analyse the development of entrepreneurship in Africa, with a special focus on women and youth, highlighting, inter alia, the work of the E4Impact Foundation and its partnership with the African Union. The event will specifically showcase best practices from the Foundation’s E4Impact Pan-African Initiative, the leading Pan-African university alliance for training and coaching a new generation of results-oriented entrepreneurs in Africa.|
The event aims to:
1. Identify ways to support and sustain women and youth entrepreneurship in Africa
2. Engage Member States, United Nations system entities, African continental organizations, private sector, civil society and other relevant stakeholders, with the aim of galvanizing action towards the support of women and youth entrepreneurs in Africa
3. Showcase concrete examples of “impactful” women and youth entrepreneurs in Africa
4. Encourage the exchange of ideas on how enterprises with a strong social foundations can accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the African Union’s Agenda 2063
The event will feature the participation of Permanent Representatives of Member States to the United Nations in New York, Heads of United Nations system entities, Senior Officials of the African Union, women and youth entrepreneurs from throughout Africa, and high-level representatives of private sector and civil society groups.