Moses Siasia

The Nigerian Young Professionals Forum (NYPF), has commended the African Development Bank (AfDB) on the launch of the Youth Entrepreneurship Development Fund to support young Africans with easy access to funds to drive Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

NYPF said this in a statement by its Chairman, Moses Siasia.

According to the statement,”the initiative would create opportunities for youths in Africa, and further inspire them into embracing entrepreneurship.

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Over the years, lack of access to funds has been a major setback for aspiring entrepreneurs and innovators. The majority of our youths do not get access funds or even on a low-interest rate.

“As the AfDB President, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina noted during the launch, several countries have already moved ahead to launch various sustainable youth engagement programmes, while others back home in Africa simply offer “hand-outs” to their youths. Hence, Africa must now move beyond “youth empowerment” to feasible youth investment and sustainable engagement.

“In setting aside these funds, the AfDB must ensure that the funds are not domiciled in government coffers as done in the past. With recourse to past experience, Governments have never been good managers of such funds. The funds should rather be disbursed through responsible, Fund Managers, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), or passed down to the youths directly.

“As a driver of sustainable growth and development in Africa, the AfDB should put in place mechanisms to monitor how these funds are disbursed and ensure that they get into the right hands. The AfDB should also ensure that the initiative is sustained for the youths, who themselves, are the engine for sustainable growth and development.

“While we note that the fund will boost the morale and productivity of young people in Africa and spur them to global competitiveness, we urge banks and other financial lending institutions to wake up and key into the initiative to provide young people with funding.”

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