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Mastercard Foundation to Enable Three Million Youth to Access Employment Opportunities in Senegal

Senegalese startups are set to benefit from increased access to funding through the Mastercard Foundation‘s $200-million Young Africa Works initiative.

The foundation announced in a statement yesterday that it had launched the initiative in Senegal, which aims to provide three million Senagelese youth with access to dignified and fulfilling work by 2030.

The Young Africa Works initiative is the foundation’s strategy to enable 30-million young people — with 70% being young women — to access dignified and fulfilling work.

The Mastercard Foundation has made a $200-million five-year commitment in the Young Africa Works initiative

The Mastercard Foundation said it has made an initial $200-million five-year commitment in the initiative which will focus on growth in small businesses, productivity improvements in the agriculture value chain, as well as in education and training.

It added that the initiative’s programmes will also support entrepreneurs, small and medium-sized businesses and other key growth sectors leading to greater productivity, job creation, and work opportunities.

The foundation said that it will extend the initiative to 10 African countries, with Senegal among the first phase of countries in which it will implement the strategy in.

The Mastercard Foundation launched the Young Africa Works strategy in Rwanda last year.

It’s not yet clear which other African countries the initiative will be run in. Ventureburn sought comment from the Mastercard Foundation but had not received a response at the time of publication.

The foundation pointed out that in Senegal, the Young Africa Works initiative will focus on three priorities. These are:

  • Enabling the growth of youth enterprises by increasing access to financing, connecting promising startups to funding, and supporting innovation hubs, incubators, and accelerators.
  • Connecting those in the informal sector to certification programmes and work opportunities. The initiative will also facilitate access to startup funds so that youth can create income opportunities.
  • To strengthen the quality and relevance of secondary and technical and vocational training education by preparing teachers and instructors with relevant, competency-based teaching methods and materials.

Senegal Mastercard Foundation country representative Sambou Coly said the foundation’s wants to transform systems and lift 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 centre of our models,” said Coly.

Featured image: Mastercard Foundation

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