When we learn better, we can do better.
At a high-profile conference, Davos 2019, on a panel discussing my research on the now ratified African Continental Free Trade Agreement, I lamented on the lack of learning platforms and resources for the continent’s youth to participate in trade liberalization policies.
Three years on and in spite of the fervor and momentum in adopting AfCFTA, there is a lack of clear learning pathways on how young entrepreneurs activate their agency from their local communities to regional, national, and international markets.
Unpacking Africa, first as a blogsite journeying my experiences, then a podcast listening empathetically to the experiences of other entrepreneurs from the African continent to the world, and now Eliu Gift innovation Hub and intentional sandbox to collaborate and action our ideas and dreams in the creative manufacturing sector into sustained enterprise and profitable business. There is a wave of innovative practice that needs to happen on commerce and trading at the subsistence level. Our bet is to organize youthful traders, artisans and vocational practitioners could unlock needed economic opportunities at the base of the pyramid.
“International Trade Center’s Youth and Trade Programme conducted a survey of African young entrepreneurs in spring 2021. It revealed that 47% of the respondents’ businesses are struggling financially, and 91% of them are seeking funding. More than half of the respondents would use additional funding to expand into new markets and to increase digitalization. Investing in youth will be vital for Africa’s future.” — Opportunities for Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship Understanding the African Continental Free Trade Area , circa May 2021
The reality for us young entrepreneurs is incredibly harsh, and we didn’t need a survey to highlight our lived reality, and having the numbers corroborate the state of affairs, 91% seeking funding is alarming. What next steps in my own capacity look like:
Exploring grassroots community engagement at the constituency level on how we can inculcate creativity and innovative practices for young members and vocational workers through knowledge transfer for learning pathway wins.
Engaging with campus community leaders in activating Eliu Gift Clubs so they can be ambassadors at home in connecting the dots on creativity, connectivity, and commerce.
Being intentional about curating local arts and crafts and creating spaces to expose local community members to international consumers and potential collaborators.
Being aware that we need to be globally connected, not just in rhetoric but in our exchanges, in our deeds, and our enterprise collaborations. Bringing cross-culture ideas to life and starts from convening at home, literally.
In spite of the bleak economic news and the advent of another wave of Covid-19 pandemic challenges from healthcare and economic empowerment in Africa, we soldier on as best we know-how, with passion and purpose. And goshdarnit, creative youthful exuberance too! Eliu.
Be well, be safe, be loved.
p.s. Digital You — USB-Executive Education course that I co-designed with faculty from the University of Stellenbosch Business School has discount codes exclusively for my newsletter subscribers. Check out my post on the bts here.
These are the easy steps to get the discount rates here:
- Select OTHER at the dropdown “How did you hear about USB Executive Development?”
- Insert the faculty/referral code EGAMOR2021 into the space provided for “If other, please specify”
Originally published to Unpacking Africa newsletter’s 15,000 + subscribers on June 30, 2021.