African economies are some of the fastest growing in the world, but that growth threatens to leave behind a generation of youth.
With 200 million people aged 15 to 24, Africa has the youngest population in the world. And yet, 60% of all unemployed in Africa are youth, and that doesn’t count young people who are underemployed with low pay and few advancement opportunities.
While young people are motivated to create their own jobs through entrepreneurship, they often lack the skills, networks, and capital needed to grow their businesses to the size where they can create jobs for others.
At AEC we believe that the most pressing problems in Africa have solutions that already exist on the continent; African entrepreneurs know best the needs of their local communities and are constantly creating, testing, and scaling innovative solutions. AEC exists to unlock the power of these entrepreneurs to transform their continent.
AEC is a collection of business accelerators and incubators that offers business education, mentorship, technical support and access to affordable capital to entrepreneurs. To date, we have worked with over 1,600 entrepreneurs who have generated 5,400 new jobs in their communities.
THE CHALLENGE FOR REFUGEES
Due to ongoing conflicts and persistent crises, the refugee population is only growing in Africa. With Sub-Saharan Africa hosting over 26% of the world’s refugee population, millions of refugees in Africa have been displaced from the workforce.
Where we work in Rwanda, all refugees have the right to move, work, own a business, open a bank account, and own land. With limited barriers to entering the workforce, the refugee community is ripe with entrepreneurs.
We offer training and business development services to hundreds of refugee entrepreneurs annually in Rwanda. These refugee entrepreneurs not only contribute to a more financially self-sufficient livelihood for their families, but also contributes to a better micro-economy within refugee settlements.