The Mastercard Foundation today announced Young Africa Works in Senegal, an initiative that aims to enable three million young people to access dignified and fulfilling work by 2030. This initiative builds on the significant groundwork undertaken by the government, which is highlighted in the Plan for an Emerging Senegal (PSE) and outlines the vision for the country until 2035. Mastercard Foundation has made an initial USD 200 million, five-year commitment focusing on growth in small businesses, productivity improvements in the agriculture value chain, and improvements in education and training.
Young Africa Works is the Mastercard Foundation’s strategy to enable 30 million young people, 70 percent of whom will be young women, to access dignified and fulfilling work. Learning from its work in 34 countries on the continent over the past decade, the Foundation is now deepening its engagement in 10 African countries. Its programs will support entrepreneurs, small- and medium-sized businesses, and key growth sectors leading to greater productivity, job creation, and work opportunities.
Senegal is among the first phase of countries in which the Foundation will begin to implement its strategy. Senegal’s policy and strategy environment are conducive for economic and social development, and it has a thriving business sector. It also has a strong entrepreneurial spirit, with high levels of innovation within the digital economy. With nearly 35 percent of the population between 15 and 35 years of age, and youth unemployment at 13 percent, the Foundation is working with local partners to spur systemic change that is critical for growth and job creation.
Young Africa Works in Senegal will focus on three priorities:
Enable the growth of youth enterprises by increasing access to financing, connecting promising start-ups to funding, and supporting innovation hubs, incubators, and accelerators.
Support the potential of youth by connecting those in the informal sector to certification programs and work opportunities. The program will also facilitate access to start-up funds so that youth can create income opportunities.
Strengthen the quality and relevance of secondary and technical and vocational training (TVET) education by preparing teachers and instructors with relevant, competency-based teaching methods and materials.
“Our ambition is about transforming systems and lifting barriers to create the right conditions for economic opportunities. We believe that is only possible if we work together, join our efforts toward the same goal and if we put youth at the center of our models” said Sambou Coly, Mastercard Foundation Country Representative, Senegal.