Young business leaders from seven countries in Southern Africa have agreed to establish a new Commonwealth Alliance of Young Entrepreneurs to promote entrepreneurship and trade across the region.
The decision to form the alliance came this week at a workshop organised in Windhoek, Namibia, by the Commonwealth Secretariat for representatives of national youth entrepreneurship organisations from Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland and Zambia.
The alliance, which will formally launch later this year, will support young African entrepreneurs as they seek to boost youth employment, contribute to trade, and support the Sustainable Development Goals, recognising that young people play an important role in wealth creation and poverty reduction.
Katherine Ellis, Director of Youth at the Commonwealth Secretariat, stated that the Commonwealth Alliance of Young Entrepreneurs-Southern Africa (CAYE-SA) will play a role in building human capital, unleashing the economic potential of young people and promoting sustainable growth and development.
“As well as driving trade within and across borders, this new coalition will give the young entrepreneurs a voice with policy-makers to enhance the youth entrepreneurship environment, and a peer network for support and sharing of experiences and good practice,” she said.
“The Southern Africa region has so many passionate and talented young entrepreneurs, all hungry to grow their businesses and contribute to their countries’ prosperity,” Ms Ellis added.
Lynette Ntuli, founder of IgniteSA, a youth entrepreneurship organisation from South Africa, who was appointed Interim Chair of the Alliance, said: “It is an honour to be selected by my peers to lead the interim board as we prepare to get on with the critical work of co-ordinating and collaborating on entrepreneurial development programmes and enterprises.
“It is my hope that the work we have set out to achieve will gain traction and make the necessary impact for the greater good of both our economies and the young entrepreneurs who operate within them.”
The move to establish the new association follows the establishment of Commonwealth Alliances of Young Entrepreneurs in Asia, the Caribbean and East Africa, all with support from the Commonwealth Secretariat. Leaders from these associations assisted with the workshop in Nambia this week, sharing their experiences with the young entrepreneurs from Southern Africa.
In many countries across the Southern Africa region, young entrepreneurs have limited access to capital, lack skills and experience and have limited exposure to business networks.
Mfundo Mohammed, the Interim Deputy Chair of the from the Innovators Association of Swaziland, said: “Young entrepreneurs face serious challenges when trying to pursue their ideas and start up successful businesses. CAYE-SA is a great chance for us to network, learn from each other, and collaborate, in an effort to achieve real progress in youth entrepreneurship and innovation in Southern Africa.”
Participating organisations in the Commonwealth Alliance of Young Entrepreneurs-Southern Africa (CAYE-SA) include:
Rlabs – Botswana
National Youth Entrepreneurs Forum – Lesotho
mHUB – Malawi
Youth to Youth Empowerment – Malawi
Junior Chamber International – Namibia
GEN – Namibia
Young Entrepreneur South Africa – South Africa
IgniteSA – South Africa
Innovators Association of Swaziland – Swaziland
Junior Achievement – Swaziland
Young Entrepreneurs Association – Zambia
Junior Achievement – ZambiaFollow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :