…as EY partners foundation to boost entrepreneurship in Africa
Stories by PROVIDENCE OBUH
A social enterprise foundation, set up to support Africa’s emerging entrepreneurs has said that Africa will have the largest workforce globally by 2040, just as Ernst & Young (EY) entered into a three-year sponsorship agreement with Mara Foundation.
In a statement, Ashish J Thakkar, Founder of Mara Group and Mara Foundation, said: “By 2040, Africa will be home to 1 in 5 of the world’s young people, and will have the largest workforce globally, at 1.1bn people.
If Africa truly wants to compete internationally, we must seize the opportunity now to develop a workforce that is competent, confident and creative. Mara Foundation has been set up for this very reason, and I’m delighted that EY are on board to support us in our endeavours. Their insights and expertise will be invaluable to the entrepreneurs we work with.”
The statement explained that the agreement will see EY providing a wide range of services to the foundation, including industry specialists to act as mentors, monitoring and evaluation systems to improve efficiency and general structuring, governance and operational advice.
According to the statement, “The breadth and depth of EY’s support will further boost the chances of entrepreneurs turning their business ideas into reality. The announcement is borne out of a shared belief that SMEs will act as a fundamental channel for increasing employment and building economic growth in Africa.
“It comes just one week after the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) announced a shake-up of aid programmes in Africa shifting away from traditional priorities such as fighting disease and hunger and doubling funding in investments that boost growth and create jobs.
Last month, Japan also announced a greater focus on Africa, as did the US who revealed plans to host a US-Africa summit in August to further strengthen ties with one of the world’s most dynamic and fastest-growing regions.”
Also, Mr. Ajen Sita, CEO for EY, Africa, said: “EY is passionate about supporting entrepreneurship and partnering with Mara Foundation in this regard is a perfect fit for us. It allows us to continue living our purpose of ‘building a better working world’ through nurturing and developing entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs are important to a nation’s economic health and by uplifting them we are giving back to the communities in which we live and serve.”