AfDB, Partners Create Business Opportunities for Youths

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Conducts week-long training for Liberian entrepreneurs and ‘agriprenuers’

A week-long training that is intended to create business opportunities for young Liberians to access basic financial services and foster private sector development in the country is currently ongoing at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex in Paynesville. The training, which started on Monday, is being supported by the African Development Bank (AfDB) in partnership with the African Foundation for Entrepreneurship and Economic Development (AFFEED), Ministry of Youth and Sports as well as the Liberia Business Association, and brought together over hundred participants.

Saah N’Tow, Youth and Sports Minister, who declared the training officially opened, said that joblessness is a serious problem in the country. Minister N’Tow mentioned that if Liberia is to become a middle income country, agriculture needs to take center stage, which will help improve Liberia’s economy. He encouraged the participants to be focused, because by 2030 Liberia would have become a middle income country. He called on the youth to take advantage of the opportunity because the facilitators will teach them how to start their own businesses using the Zero Capital Concept (ZCC) technique. The ZCC is a pilot project which intends to empower youth to start their own businesses.

Cross section of Liberian youth at the start of the week-long training

The Youth and Sports boss said AFFEED is the giant of Africa’s ‘Agriprenuership,’ adding that the training was a first of its kind to introduce the zero capital concept in the country. Deputy Minister for regional development, research and extension at the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA), Thomas Gbokie, thanked the AfDB for supporting the training. He said AfDB has always been one of the key partners of the MOA. Minister Gbokie encouraged the participants to take advantage of the opportunity, because it will help reduce the youth unemployment rate in the country. “We look forward to continuing our partnership, which helps address the challenges MSMEs face in accessing finance,” he said.

The Officer-In-Charge of the African Development Bank Liberia office, Rees Mwasambili, said Liberia’s youth population should be the driving force to make the project work. He added that the growth of Africa depends on the youth, where they make up half of the continent’s population. He mentioned that in 2025, fifty million youth should have been empowered to develop Africa’s economy.

AFFEED’s president Dr. Samuel Mathey said the foundation was created to address issues from the civil society perspective without waiting for public and government action or support. Mathey, founder of the Zero Capital Concept, said “entrepreneurship is a series of baby steps. Don’t let the belief that you need money stop you from getting started, because you’ll probably find yourself waiting forever.” AFFEED promotes Zero Capital Entrepreneurship (ZCE), which is a pragmatic solution that addresses the issues of access to credit, access to market and contract of startups.

The one-week training will fast-track this year to a national project covering hundreds of thousands of youth and women, getting them ready for entrepreneurship and ‘agriprenuership.’

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