AfricaWorking initiative launched to support 250,000 African Youths with entrepreneurial skills


Multinational software company Microsoft together with six businesses on Tuesday launched a new initiative called AfricaWorking which aims to support 200,000 youth and 50,000 entrepreneurs across the continent by 2020.

This support will be in the form of learning, training, mentoring, internship, and job opportunities in industries across all sectors.

The company is yet to reveal the total value of the resources that it has combined with other AfricaWorking founding companies including Barclays Africa, Emerging World, FranklinCovey, Knod, Safal Group and Syngenta.

Speaking about the initiative, The Dean of the Microsoft 4Africa Academy , Lutz Ziob said “Most large corporations are looking at youth skills development in one form or another, because it’s crucial to their business. The idea behind AfricaWorking is to bring these corporations together, align our efforts, share our learnings and build human capital on a pan-Africa scale,”

The initial platforms will leverage YouthWorks, a Microsoft entrepreneurship platform linking youth to training, mentors, small business support and access to finance, as well as an employability platform powered by Knod.

Member companies will use the platform to create their talent pipeline.

Microsft says, based on the state of employability and entrepreneurship across Africa, there is a need for a concerted effort.

Ziob’s sentiments are shared by Charles Reed, General Manager for Community Investment for Barclays Africa who emphasised the need to respond accordingly to a growing labour market.

According to Reed, “Africa’s labour market is projected to be the biggest in the world. There is a great opportunity for us to engage the youth, help them develop relevant skills and find meaningful employment opportunities. Key to this is for us to collaborate and leverage technology where it makes sense to do so.”

Youth unemployment in Africa is triple the global average. Under 25s represent 60% of Africa’s unemployed and 72% of youth live on less than US$2 a day according to World Bank.