A bunch of multinational corporations have come together to create a solution for youth economic empowerment in Africa. That solution is AfricaWorking and it’s the brainchild of Barclays Africa, Emerging World, FranklinCovey, Knod, Microsoft, Safal Group, and Syngenta

. The project is piloting in Kenya and South Africa, but will expand to other African countries later on.

AfricaWorking was set up to support 200,000 youths and 50,000 entrepreneurs by 2020. This support will be in the form of learning, training, mentoring, internship, and job opportunities in industries across all sectors.

Talking about the reason behind the project, the Dean of the Microsoft 4Afrika 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.”

In addition, CEO and Founder of Knod, Graham Doxey said, “There is currently a significant mismatch between the skills youth have and the skills employers are looking for. Our goal is to connect learners and employers in a unique 21st Century experience-based learning model, which develops skilled youth and an energised workforce of competent employees.”

Member companies will use AfricaWorking to create their talent pipeline and shape employees when and where they need them, through real world projects that form the basis of this innovative learning model.

Charles Reed, the General Manager for Community Investment for Barclays Africa, dropped a few stats saying, “By 2045, 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.”

AfricaWorking will make use of existing approaches and programs to help registered youths get ready for careers or business, and create a pool of recruitable talent for their member companies.

The programs to be used are YouthWorks – a Microsoft entrepreneurship platform linking youth to training, mentors, small business support and access to finance – and an employability platform powered by Knod.

Tola Agunbiade Author

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