Kenya asks for the removal of barriers to African youth entrepreneurship

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Kenyan President William Ruto on Saturday called for elimination of bottlenecks that were slowing down growth of youth-led enterprises in Africa, worsening poverty and unemployment.

Speaking at the official opening ceremony for Youthconnekt Africa in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, Ruto stressed that abolishing obsolete policies and regulations, hastening integration will be key to spur growth of start-ups owned by the youth.

“Governments should simplify business regulations, facilitate access to capital and promote regional integration to ensure that enterprises led by youth thrive and create opportunities,” Ruto said.

He added that African youth require mentorship, market linkages and digital skills to unlock their entrepreneur potential, become self-reliant and contribute to economic growth.

Kenya is hosting the 2023 Youthconnekt Africa Summit from Dec. 8 to 12 that will convene over 20,000 youth, policymakers, industry leaders and donors to discuss diverse themes, including digitization, green finance, creative industry, borderless commerce and how they can unleash opportunities for the continent’s youth.

The five-day summit to be held under the theme of “Youth Innovating a Borderless African Renaissance”, will provide a platform for young people to gain skills and knowledge required to grow their businesses.

Ruto noted that establishment of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will open new opportunities for entrepreneurial youth to help solve the unemployment crisis.

In addition, Ruto said that policy reforms alongside bench-marking with international best practices is key to unlock youth-led innovations and revitalize cross-border enterprise in the continent.

The Kenyan leader said African countries should bridge digital divide in order to promote youth involvement in the continent’s growing e-commerce and virtual jobs.

On his part, the Prime Minister of Lesotho Sam Matekane said that Africa should leverage youth bulge to hasten digitization that promises economic vitality and job creation.

Matekane said that support for youth-led enterprises will hasten realization of Africa’s integration agenda besides promoting peace, stability and cohesion.

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