Nigeria, others to benefit from Coca Cola’s $4.5m youth empowerment initiative
At the just concluded World Economic Forum (WEF) in South Africa, the Coca Cola Foundation has pledged the sum of $4.5 million towards a Youth Empowerment Initiative that will provide life skills training, business skills training and access to employment and mentoring for 25,000 young Africans.
The new initiative tagged Youth Empowered for Success (YES!) Programme will seek to empower marginalised youth in six African countries, and will leverage technology and strategic partnerships to accelerate and scale up the initiative to provide opportunities to many more youth across the continent.
The YES! initiative will be introduced in Kenya, Tunisia and South Africain phase one before being implemented in Liberia, Nigeria and Uganda through the foundation and implementing partners Mercy Corps, Microsoft, Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator, and Kuza Biashara.
According to the foundation, the programme is expected to address critical development and life skills for 18 – 35 years old unemployed and underemployed young Africans, and provide access to sustainable economic opportunities created through employment or entrepreneurship.
During the first three years, the Coca Cola Foundation aims to provide proof of concept for a scalable and replicable model with the ambition to reach 500,000 youth by 2020, by establishing strong partnerships with private sector, NGO, government and civil society organisations.
“Harnessing the incredible energy and ambition of a young and growing population will be critical to Africa’s future economic advancement,” said Nathan Kalumbu, chairman, The Coca Cola Africa Foundation. “Over 10-12 million young Africans are entering the workforce each year, yet less than half this number of employment opportunities are currently available. The YES! initiative underscores our commitment to identifying a sustainable longterm solution for youth economic empowerment and creating opportunities that will help overcome this employment gap,” Kalumbu said.
“Today 40 million African youth are out of work, and young Africans continue to enter the workforce at a faster rate than jobs are created,” said Neal Keny-Guyer, Chief Executive Officer of Mercy Corps. By partnering with The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation and Mercy Corps, Neal said he will be looking forward to helping even more young people in Africa find employment and build long-term financial stability for themselves and for their families.