Our Youths In Africa Does Not Have The Funds To Turn Their Ideas Into Viable Businesses — Akinwumi Adesina

President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina says African youths are confronted with paucity of funds to turn their ideas into feasible businesses.

Adesina,however, saddled the government and private sectors on the continent to grow, finance and support large scale youth-led businesses.

Referencing the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the AfDB president stated this on Monday, while speaking at a virtual high-level roundtable on Scaling up Financing for Youth Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Africa.

Adesina said that the efficiency and entrepreneurial drive of the youths in Africa needed to be unleashed to create jobs, adding that the youth must be backed to go beyond job seeking.

“We must grow, finance and support large scale successes of youth-led businesses in Africa.

“Existing financial institutions have failed to meet the needs of this rapidly growing population of the continent.

“This is due to lack of appropriate financing instruments; archaic credit risk assessments; focus on collaterals which the youth do not have; and lack of long-term financing horizon.

“That can deploy different types of financing instruments, from debt, equity, quasi-equity and guarantees over the life cycle of the businesses of the youth.”

Adesina also mentioned that the continent has multiple programmes aimed at developing the skills of the youth by countries, supported by bilateral and multilateral finance institutions.

He noted that albeit such programmes might have assisted to impart some skills to support entrepreneurship, the youths are still confronted with financing challenges to turn their ideas into viable businesses.

“It is time to put the capital of Africa at risk on behalf of the youth.

“It is time to create new financial ecosystems that are able to support the businesses of the youth, grow them, and unlock the latent demand for financing by millions of the youth.

“This will help to turn Africa’s demographic asset into an economic asset for Africa, and for that, we must nurture the businesses of young people.

“We must tackle market failures and missing institutions that prevent the youth entrepreneurs from reaching their potential,” NAN quoted him as saying.

The one time former minister believes that with a new financial ecosystem around the youth “that was systemic, scalable and sustainable, Africa would create youth-based wealth and jobs across the continent.”

In her own remark, Arancha Laya, the minister of foreign affairs, European Union and Cooperation, Spain, noted that entrepreneurship was acknowledged as a driver for economic growth but specified that there were too many barriers facing intra-African trade.

“In this endeavour, I believe it will be crucial to give youth access to appropriate financing mechanisms, capacity building and implementing legal and institutional reforms to address the barriers that young people face in accessing corporate financial markets,” she said.

In its Job for Youth in Africa Strategy, the African Development Bank (AfDB) plans to create 25 million direct and indirect jobs and empower 50 million youth in space of ten years.

Nigeria is on the list of countries with the highest unemployment rate in the world. According to the latest unemployment report released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), a total of 23.18 million persons in Nigeria are either jobless or worked for less than 20 hours a week, making them unemployed during the fourth quarter 2020.