African-European cooperation for youth entrepreneurship

The 5th African Union – European Union (AU-EU) summit will take place in Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire) on November 29 & 30. The AU-EU top will provide an opportunity to strengthen the political and economic ties between both continents. During the summit, African and European leaders will talk about the future of EU-Africa relations, with special attention to the need to create jobs for youth. This is an important priority for Africa and the EU, as 60% of the African population is under 25.

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The Africa-EU Partnership

Worldwide, the proportion of young people in the world population increases. Young people are the future, but in developing countries, young people often have great difficulty in getting a job or to successfully build their own business. High unemployment rates among youngsters can lead to social instability and to departure of young people, who are looking for better opportunities abroad. The Netherlands focuses on improving economic perspective of young people in developing countries. The Netherlands helps them with advice and loans to start or build their own business. Also, a better connection between education and the labor market can be established through training, and a combination of learning-while-working programs.

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Image: SPARK
Entrepreneur Cherifa (photo) is participant in the LEAD project implemented by SPARK in Tunesia.

Local Employment for African Development (LEAD)

An example of how the Netherlands promotes youth entrepreneurship in developing countries is with the LEAD (Local Employment for African Development) program. The goal of the LEAD program is to generate sustainable income for youth by creating jobs and offering decent works in different countries in Africa. Ferdinand Francken is coordinator of the LEAD program within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In a blog he wrote about the various LEAD projects and the results that are achieved so far.

Online social media campaign

During the last weeks of november specific attention was paid to the topic of youth entrepreneurship in developing countries on social media. Various partner organizations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs contributed to this social media campaign and have spread messages with the hashtag #work4youth. You can follow our own Twitter list to stay up to date about all the different aspects the Sustainable Economic Development Department of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs works on.