Young African Entrepreneur Economic Forum Ends in Freetown

Young African Entrepreneur Economic Forum (AYEF)

By Foday Moriba Conteh

The Young African Entrepreneur Economic Forum (AYEF) and the Young Entrepreneurs Network have on Friday 13th January 2023 concluded a three-day Entrepreneurship conference on the theme: “Contribution of the African Diaspora in the Development of Youth Entrepreneurship for a Revisited South-South Cooperation.”

The three-day conference which started on Wednesday 11th January and ended on Friday 13th January 2023 at Bintumani Hotel, on Aberdeen in Freetown was supported by the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) through UNDP, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).

In his welcome address, the Country Manager of Young African Entrepreneur Economic Forum (AYEF) and Young Entrepreneurs Network, Nabie Yayah Yansaneh, said the first of edition of the conference was hosted in Cameroon and the first winner had a business trip to Germany revealing how the program is a continuous project.

He furthered that the project is to bridge the gap of unemployment and increase remittances in Sierra Leone by encouraging entrepreneurs to have a link out of Sierra Leone and also encouraged their customers in Sierra Leone to use their local products that are produced in Sierra Leone which will generate income and bring stability to the country’s economy.

“With our economy in difficulty here that is why the institution is here to stay to encourage and build the capacity of unemployed youths and sell their products within the country and outside the country,” he said.

He added that the institution is here to link young entrepreneurs maintaining how they are capacitating and training the youth of this nation.

After the training, he went on these young entrepreneurs pitched their business ideas which will be sent to a panel for discussion and perusal. Just as the first winner won a trip to Germany it will apply to the second winner of the second edition.

Speaking on behalf of the Dr. Ralf Zimmermann, Programme Coordinator, Joseph B. Michael disclosed that the conference is partially supported by the GIZ Employment Promotion Programme which is co-funded by the European Union and BMZ.

He said on one hand micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) are key drivers to the economic growth of any country and Sierra Leone is no exception. Micro and small enterprises are widespread in Sierra Leone as opposed to large and medium-sized entities and are playing significant roles in the country’s economy but yet they continue to face a number of challenges in relation to business enabling environment, access to durable business development services and access to finance.

In her address, the President of the organizing committee of the African Young Entrepreneurs Economic Forum, Mefi­re Njoya Aichetou, gave  a brief background of the workshop.

Mefire Njoya Aichetou said the workshop is an annual high-level meeting which aims to bring together young Africans living in Africa and those of the diaspora around economic issues for promotion of the African Free Trade Area for a better involvement of the African Diaspora in a revisited inter-African cooperation.

She said the African Youth Entrepreneurship Forum started in 2018 when she started working with cocoa farmers . Aichetou continued that the African Youth Entrepreneurship Forum represents the largest conference carried out by African Diaspora organizations as approved by Article 3 of the Protocol on the Amendments to the Constitutive Act of the African Union on the Role of the Diaspora, and the Framework Convention of the Citizen and Diaspora Directorate of the African Union (CIDO).

He furthered that currently 1800 new businesses are supported to improve their competiveness throughout all the districts they are operating which means they will offer loan opportunities, interest rates through the device that they have and  have supported 1,150 and several other businesses in the country.

Delivery the keynote address, Sierra Leone Minister of Youth, Mr Orman Bangura, said the flagship program of President Julius Maada Bio happens to be human capital development and from the African Union content, he is impressed with such a brilliant and wonderful initiative lead by a continental body, African Union and what is more encouraging is that the African Union has defined a role for its diaspora and has also taken it further.

The conference was climaxed with recommendations from participants.



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