​Africa’s youth: Global Time Bomb or Incredible Opportunity? By Fred Swaniker

What if I told you that millions of African youth could land a job with just a few weeks of training?

Sindi Tutuka is an example of how this is possible. Sindi grew up in a township in Cape Town, South Africa, where jobs were hard to come by and she struggled to feed and educate her young son.Then she heard about Harambee, a highly innovative, technology-enabled, “youth employment accelerator”. In just a few weeks of training in practical skills like punctuality, language training, customer service, and computer literacy, Sindi got matched with a great job at Discovery Insurance, where she is now building a successful career as a service consultant.

Harambe is on track to place 100,000 young people like Sindi into jobs in their first ten years of operation. 400 employers are partnering with Harambee in this very laudable effort. I found this to be amazing!  

It also got me thinking: today millions of university graduates across Africa are unemployed, after 3 or 4 years of what is often very expensive investment by the young people or their governments. Yet programs like Harambee are able to prepare people for work effectively in a just a few weeks.  The key to Harambee’s success is the fact that they do research to identify what skills are needed by the labour market and then they make sure that young people are trained in exactly those things. It’s faster and more efficient than a degree.

The point is, if we’re going to really solve our massive youth unemployment problems in Africa (and indeed around the world– Europe and the USA are also suffering from the same), we need to do things differently. Not every young person needs to go to university. Remember, I’m saying this and I am the founder of a university! Universities need to become much more in tune with the needs of employers, and create people with skills that are needed in the 21st century, and not only the academic theory they typically focus on. We also need radical and unconventional programs like Harambee if we’re going to solve this challenge.

In Singapore, for example, one of the most prosperous countries in the world, the government has purposely capped the proportion of youth who can enter their universities to 30%. They ensure that the rest of their youth go into other kinds of programs that explicitly prepare them for employment. Germany and Switzerland are other great examples of highly prosperous economies where vocational and technical programs train people for work in a matter of months. Yet in Africa we somehow look down on such programs and are not investing enough in this area. We also need to look at how we merge such skills-based training with entrepreneurship, so that young people are equipped to create their own jobs.

By the end of this century, according to the UN, almost 50% of the world’s youth will live in Africa. This will lead to one of two outcomes. Outcome 1 will be a global disaster, with billions of unemployed African youth (I don’t even want to imagine where that would take the world). Outcome 2 is much more beautiful: can you imagine what would happen if we unleash the most energetic and creative workforce in the world with skills and entrepreneurial training? This could be one of the greatest forces of global economic prosperity this century. I choose to believe the second outcome is possible. But it will require us to do things differently. Harambee and Sindi show us what is possible. Let’s put our heads together and think of other ways that we could rapidly skill up our youth and turn a looming disaster into one of the greatest opportunities this century.

More to come on this topic…

Let me know what you think.

From Fred Swaniker’s Official Facebook Page 


Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship 2017

​Application Period:  22 June – 7 August 2017

The Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship aim to recognize some of the continent’s most innovative and impactful entrepreneurs. Over the past 8 years, AAE has attracted over 7000 applications from industries and sectors ranging from education. health, transport, energy among others.

Applications for nominations to The Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship (AAE) are now open. The awards aim to recognize Africa’s most talented entrepreneurs across 4 categories:  

1. Best Growing Business: high growth companies

2. Best Mature Business: legacy companies with significant revenue base and continental footprint

3. Youth Entrepreneur of the Year :entrepreneurs under the age of 35

4. Social Entrepreneur of the Year:social impact oriented enterprises

Previous winners of this prestigious award include Spark Schools (South Africa), Astro Mobile (Zimbabwe), Prep Class (Nigeria) and Aspen Holdings (Mauritius).

After undergoing a rigorous nomination and selection process, 12 finalists (3 per category) will be invited to attend the African Leadership Network (ALN) Annual Gathering which will be hosted in Mauritius in November this year, where one winner per category will be announced. The Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship are an initiative of the African Leadership Network.


  • Only African companies are eligible for these awards. You will be required to provide proof that your core operations are on the continent.
  • They look for a track record of innovation, profitability, business excellence and social impact
  • Businesses from any sector are encouraged to apply.
  • Applicants interested in the Outstanding Young Entrepreneur category must be 35 years old or below.
  • Applications must be filed by a single company representative.      

Selection Criteria

1. Leadership, culture and values: This majorly points out to how your organisation invests in its employees as well as the values ethics that drive it.

2. Innovation: We look for companies that are providing creative and leading edge solutions that add real value to the lives of customers

3. Profitability:  Your business should be commercially sustainable and demonstrate a robust financial position

4. Long term Business Strategy: Your business should demonstrate a sound and coherent strategy for future growth and continued value addition

5. Social & Economic impact on communities: Your business should be adding value to their communities. We are looking for companies that have a demonstrable commitment to using business for social impact

How to apply

The first step is to fill in the application form and upload your supporting  documents online via the ALN Website. You will be notified about the status of your application by the end of August. Shortlisted candidates will the interviewed by our panel of judges via skype interview. Successful candidates will be invited to attend the  award ceremony in Mauritius.

Click here for more details

2017 African Development Bank Internship

Application Deadline: May 30, 2017

Established in 1964, the African Development Bank is the premier pan-African development institution, promoting economic growth and social progress across the continent. There are 80 member states, including 54 in Africa (Regional Member Countries). The Bank’s development agenda is delivering the financial and technical support for transformative projects that will significantly reduce poverty through inclusive and sustainable economic growth. In order to sharply focus the objectives of the Ten Year Strategy (2013 – 2022) and ensure greater developmental impact, five major areas (High 5s), all of which will accelerate our delivery for Africa, have been identified for scaling up, namely; energy, agro-business, industrialization, integration and improving the quality of life for the people of Africa.

Participants in the Program are selected on a competitive basis, based on business needs of the Bank.


The broad objectives of the program are to:

  • Provide students with an opportunity to acquire professional and practical experience at the African Development Bank.
  • Provide the Bank with a pool of potential candidates for future recruitment purposes.

However applicants should not expect the internship to lead to immediate employment with the AfDB.

Terms and conditions

The fields of study from which interns are selected must be within the job families of the Bank, particularly Economics, Agriculture, Private Sector Development, Human Capital Development (Education and Health), Environment, Finance, Infrastructure Development, Human Resources Management, Information Technology, Communications, Law, Internal Audit, Budget, Governance or any other field of study that the Bank may deem relevant to its operations.

Special consideration shall be given to students who are working on projects that have a direct bearing on the mission of the Bank.

Internships shall be performed either at the Bank’s headquarters in Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire) or in any one of the Bank’s field offices or Regional Centres.

Timeline for the 2017 Program :

Summer – Session : July through December 2017.

Internships shall be granted to each candidate for a period not less than three (3) months and not more than six (6) months. The internship is authorized only once for any candidate.

Interns shall be responsible for their air travel (where applicable) to and from the Bank’s location as well as their upkeep.

Interns shall be responsible for their medical insurance coverage and for obtaining entry and residence visas in the host country of the Bank.

Eligible Interns will be provided with a monthly stipend.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for internship, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Students, aged between eighteen
  • (18) to thirty (30) years, and
  • currently enrolled in a Master’s level degree program or its equivalent in a recognized public or private institution of higher learning.
  • The candidate can apply for an internship within one (1) year of having obtained such a degree.
  • Provide a letter from their school confirming their enrollment or a copy of the above mentioned Degree.
  • Citizens of one of the Bank’s member countries.
  • Applicants must be fluent in at least one of the Banks’s two working languages (English or French).

Strategic Focus areas:

The specific disciplines and specialist professional areas are aligned to the Bank’s Ten-Year Strategy (TYS) and the gender strategy. In addition to the fields that are in the job families of the Bank, focus will be on the following areas:

  • Power, Energy, Climate and Green Growth;
  • Agriculture, Human and Social Development;
  • Private Sector, Infrastructure and Industrialization;
  • Economy, Statistics;
  • Governance and knowledge Management
  • Finance
  • Legal
  • Human Resources and Corporates Services: IT, Language Services, General Service a& Procurement, HR Management
  • Audit, Anti-corruption
  • Evaluation;
  • Communication & External Relations
  • Public Relations
  • Gender.

Application Procedure

Applicants will only be considered if they submit an online application and attach a comprehensive Curriculum Vitae (CV).

See more here

Amplify Fellowship for Content Creators and Storytellers in Africa 

Application Deadline: July 7, 2017

aKoma is now accepting applications for Amplify II, the second cohort of the Fellowship for Content Creators and Storytellers in Africa. The application process will run from May 26th through July 7th 2017. They are looking for originals, applicants cut from that unique creative ilk that defines an amazing creative. They are not looking for ordinary people. Instead aKoma wants content creators and storytellers that are non-conformists who are laser focused on making the authentic yet fantastic stories that Africa deserves, stories that the world will use as the lenses with which the real Africa is viewed. They are looking for photographers, videographers, writers, animators, graphic artists, storytellers.

Amplify applicants should be open to challenging defaults, demonstrate resilience, and embody a multitude of viewpoints. Fellow characteristics aKoma likes include rigor, ownership, vision, grit, curiosity and teamwork. In addition to tangible evidence of progress in their craft, every potential Amplify should be able to show their passion for their country and Africa 

The Selection Process

The Amplify II Fellows will be selected by the aKoma crew. They select Fellows based on their creative pursuits so far, content creation aspirations, alignment with Amplify’s vision, and other factors. They are interested in the possible range and impact of the potential Fellow’s work, the diversity of their creative work, and the ability to take full advantage of the opportunities presented by Amplify

This is a very competitive program. They will be selecting thirty (30) Fellows in total – ten in Lagos, ten in Nairobi, five in Accra, and five in Kigali.

There will be two rounds:

The first round will run through July 7th

A final round will run from the 7th to the 14th of July, when we will announce the Amplify II Fellowship recipients


Applicants should reside or be available in one of these locations:

  • Accra, Ghana
  • Kigali, Rwanda
  • Nairobi, Kenya
  • Lagos, Nigeria

Applicants must commit to 8-10 hours every week to participate in Amplify activities. No exceptions will be made. Please do not apply if you can’t make this commitment

Be able to show samples of your work, and have a visible presence on social media that displays your work on the web

Click here to get more information 

Caroline Mutoko Leadership Award

About Caroline Mutoko

Caroline Mutoko is a One Young World Counsellor, the CMO of Radio Africa Group and a leading Kenyan media personality with a radio career that spans more than 15 years. Caroline is, without doubt, the first female broadcaster to command the morning airwaves with a mix of love, charity and brutal honestly for the issues that affect Kenyans most.

Caroline believes that now more than ever, media must look at where Kenya needs to be, where Kenya needs to go and actively and boldly pursue after the conversations, personalities, issues and topics that allow that reality to unfold.

This year Caroline will provide one young leader the opportunity to participate in the upcoming One Young World Summit in Bogotá through the Caroline Mutoko Leadership Award.

What does the scholarship include?

  • Access to the One Young World Summit 2017 in Bogotá, Colombia
  • Hotel accommodation on a shared basis between 4 October and 7 October
  • Catering which includes breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • Transport between the Summit accommodation and the Summit venue.
  • Summit hand-outs and support materials.
  • The cost of travel to and from Bogotá.

Who can apply?

In order to apply you must be:

  • Aged 18 – 30
  • A current resident of Kenya
  • Successful candidates will excel in the following areas:
  • Evidenced commitment to creating positive change in Kenya. This commitment can come in many forms; ranging from a high level of involvement in community initiatives to social entrepreneurship or from leading responsible business practices to public service
  • Show leadership ability
  • Show concern for local and related global issues
  • Ability to generate and articulate impactful ideas
  • Demonstrate teamwork
  • Be able to highlight why youth are so critical for the future of Kenya and Africa

How to apply

Submit an online application before midnight 26 May.

Find additional information here

2017 Free Science Technology Engineering Mathematics (STEM) Teachers Training Workshop

​WAAW Foundation is excited to announce that application is now open for 2017 Free Science Technology Engineering Mathematics (STEM) teachers training workshop.
The one-week intensive programming training is set up to train 100 secondary school STEM teachers from the 36 states of Nigeria on digital literacy training.

Carefully selected participants will have the opportunity to learn Web Development, Renewable Energy systems such as solar and wind mill systems, ICT skills, Arduino, Integrative Teaching Methods, Curriculum Development Skills and also participate in team building exercises etc.

At the end of the training, teachers would return to their schools to launch STEM tutoring and mentoring programs including integrating skills learnt in existing science clubs of their respective institution

Details of this year’s camp:

Date: July 31 st – August 4 th , 2017

Venue: 3 rd Floor, NEPZA Building, 2 Zambezi Crescent, Maitama, Abuja.

Click to apply
Registration for the STEM camp is open till July 30, 2017.

Find additional information here

Ivy Barley, a Young Ghanaian, wins big prize in Berlin, Germany

​Her name is Ivy Barley. She is a young lady who have beaten all the odds to make her country Ghana and Africa proud. Barley made it to the front row of German newspapers by winning the prestigious ‘E-Skills for Girls Competition’ in Berlin. She won the first prize of €15,000, got a mentorship from Google and also had the opportunity to meet German Chancellor, Angela Merkel.

She is a leader and an example of a perfect role women play in the computer or ICT world. She started the “Developers in Vogue”, a social enterprise that connects skilled female developers and improves the digital skills of girls and women.

Her business stands to inspire a lot of women globally especially in the coding field of ICT.

Whiles more and more women are venturing into the tech sector, there is still unbalanced ratio of gender in the digital world. It is estimated that about 71% African girls and women will not get online by the beginning of the year, 2020. A lot of women in Africa do not see the hidden benefits of technology and as a fact, creates a developmental lag in their society.

It is on several agencies including government in Africa to empower women to take advantage of technology. Various individual organizations are also key to support the African girl child or woman to see what a life changing technology can have on their lives.

There are vast number of skills a girl or woman in Africa can partake and among them are coding, digital- enabled financial management, web designing/ writing and critical analysis.

Like Ivy, girls have major advantage over men when it comes to IT. They can lead companies and invent great ideas through the coding perspective. This makes them highly stable and relevant in the current state of the imbalanced gender scale.

Ivy’s innovation has generated a greater challenge to women to stand to their feet since her company has created opportunities for the universal gender. Her achievement is worth to be celebrated especially by younger ladies who want to succeed just like her.

Sourve: ghmarv.com

iDove Call for Project Proposals – up to 5,000 Euros per project!

The “Intercontinental Youth Forum on Violent Extremism” from 21 to 23 February 2017 kicked off the project “Interfaith Dialogue on Violent Extremism” (iDove) developed and implemented by the African Union Commission’s Citizens and Diaspora Directorate (CIDO) and Deutsche Gesellschaft für International Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). Aiming at an innovative and youthful approach by drawing on the soft power of religion and intercultural dialogue, iDove succeeded in starting a unique counter-movement against violent extremism based on the iDove principles of employing cutting-edge (technological) approaches, advocating values of tolerance, mutual respect and better understanding centred on intra- and interfaith and intercultural dialogue, promoting youth ownership and gender equality, thinking outside the activism bubble, and regional networking.

Now iDove wants to support organizations in developing and implementing youth-focused, small scale projects that contribute to preventing violent extremism in African and Europe with a grant of up to 5,000 Euros per project. According to the ideas developed by the youth participants of the “Intercontinental Youth Forum”, the projects should fit into one of the two clusters, namely “Innovative Community Projects” or “Communication and Virtual Initiatives”.

Project ideas should be submitted before 21 May 2017 with the speaker of the project group copied in. Please consult the factsheet for annotations on eligibility, assessing and scoring of the project proposals. It will help you in understanding what they are looking for in a project proposal and how to increase the chances of your project being selected. In addition, a 1-minute video showcasing the project idea must be submitted. The final selection will be made in the beginning of June. The implementation of selected projects is supposed to start in July 2017, given the final approval and the signed contract with GIZ.

Upon submission all projects will undergo an initial eligibility check according to these criteria:

  1. Organisation: Only organisations officially registered with the authorities of a country in Africa and Europe can apply for funding. Registration documents must be provided. Please be aware that each organisation who will receive funding has to invest a certain amount of effort into book keeping and accounting. Some experience in this regard will be favourable.
  2. Youth: The person in charge of the project within the lead organisation must be 20 to 35 years old.
  3. Project Proposals: The above form must be thoroughly filled out. In addition, a 1-minute video showcasing the project idea must be submitted.
  4. Maximum number of project ideas per organisation: Each organisation can submit up to two project proposals in different categories.
  5. Budget limit: iDove supports innovative project ideas with a contribution of 1,000 to 5,000 Euro. Implementing organisations, therefore, can only apply for a grant within these boundaries.
  6. Time frame: The implementation of the projects must be feasible within the time frame of 1-8 months until the end of December 2017. First results need to be presentable in October 2017.

If you have any question, please do not hesitate to get in touch with the orgnizers through their social media platforms:
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/idove00
Twitter: @_idove_

See more information here

​Intentional and Strategic Education: A Sustainably Developed Africa

By Phomolo Matleelane

Last year I had the opportunity to tutor my landlord’s kids for the 3 months. I took a break when the child completed his exams to refresh and started with his big sister close to her exams. The former was challenging mostly because the child had dropped from A grades to D grades. It wasn’t more about him passing the exams but a lot about restoring his confidence back, that is to ignite in him to believe that he can do better again and even more. Throughout these sessions I learnt a principle that I somehow believe that as educators at all levels we overlook. The principle of not just feeding/bombarding children with information but finding out first what they intend to do with the education that we would give them. This is important because when we know what kids want, their dreams/their vision for life, we will be able to help them build what they are looking forward to in the future. I believe that when they know that, their education will be used to aid/propel their dreams into motion thus to working against any tidal wave to make sure that they arrive at the destination.

 It is apparent that the landscape around job security has wildly changed and as people in Africa and the world we have to wake up to that reality. It is no longer the case on the ground that after a University graduate takes of their gown the next day they walk into their office. Young graduates today are looming on the streets and to their demise their fellow countrymen who do not have the seemingly esteemed qualification are flourishing and making big deals and transcending in businesses unimaginable. If this does not say we must interrogate our education system, I wonder what will! Perhaps what we tell our children from a young age as little as in primary school should change; learners must be instilled to use education as a means to craft them into the product that will enhance their world. Education must cultivate their minds to be creators of their destiny, revolutionise them to desire to contribute to their communities and bring a desirable change.  

My observation is that students today spend more time on their smartphones or other electronic gadgets. During tutoring, my student told me that they were able to study their material only when they had their headphones on listening to music. They said that during an exam or test they will remember the song that they were studying and somehow remember the details of what they were reading. It is surreal to think of this; however it is likely that students across the globe are doing that. More areas/houses have electricity, connection of home phone lines thus access to internet services. Therefore perhaps our systems should incorporate the dynamic changes in technology. We must teach our children the opportunities that come with being technological literate and how to use it to solve problems locally and globally.

I believe that if we can empower the young generation from a young age (primary school level) we will grow a breed of individuals/future leaders who are keen job creators and not seekers. This will mean that Africa’s manufacturing industries will become sustainable revenue. More importantly it is incumbent upon us to emphasize that white collar jobs are not the only route to enjoying and putting food on the table. That is, there are many ways of being resourcefully creative and contributing to development in our communities.

Apply Now: The MasterCard Foundation at RUFORUM Scholarship Award 2017/2018



Background: The Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) in partnership with The MasterCard Foundation, Gulu University and Egerton University are implementing an eight year program aimed at transforming African agricultural universities and their graduates to better respond to developmental challenges through enhanced application of science, technology, business and innovation for rural agricultural transformation. This is eight year program (2016-2024) and will be supporting students that are economically disadvantaged, those from post-conflict and conflict affected areas of Africa. Interested applicants will undertake their training at Gulu University and Egerton University.

Eligible Programmes: The RUFORUM Technical Committee (RTC) has identified the following priority programs for the academic year 2017/2018 as eligible for application and to be supported.
Gulu University
1. Bachelor of Science in Agri-Entrepreneurship and Communication
2. Bachelor of Science in Food and Agribusiness
3. Master of Science in Food Security and Community Nutrition
4. Master…

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