By Temitope Ponle
Young entrepreneurs from four African countries have formed a new network to address challenges to sub-regional trade and youth unemployment.
They are from Nigeria, Cameroon, Ghana, , and Sierra Leone.
The network is “ Commonwealth Alliance of Young Entrepreneurs – West Africa (CAYE-WA)’’.
It was inaugurated on Wednesday in Accra, Ghana, according to a statement by Mr Will Henley, the media contact at the Commonwealth Secretariat.
The network aims to support youth business leaders to expand cross-border trading opportunities.
It would also provide a platform for recommendations to policy-makers to improve access to capital and markets, overcome barriers for business and enhance entrepreneurship education.
The event, which launched the group, was hosted by the Ghanaian Government.
Mr Isaac Asiamah, Ghana’s Minister for Youth and Sports , noted that the launch was “most welcome at this time when most African governments are seeking innovative ways of solving the youth unemployment crisis’’.
Asiamah said that the group would develop the skills, creativity, innovation, knowledge and confidence of young entrepreneurs.
According to him, it will also enhance the social, political and economic integration of youth in the sub-region through peer to peer learning and networking.
“The Commonwealth Alliance of Young Entrepreneurs, West Africa, has come at an opportune time to help the youth develop their capacities and support them to contribute to the sustainable development of their respective countries,” he said.
The Director of Youth at the Commonwealth Secretariat, Katherine Ellis, commended the establishment of CAYE-WA as a vehicle to drive trade and give young entrepreneurs a stronger voice with policy-makers.
“This initiative will help position entrepreneurship as a credible career choice, and ensure that young entrepreneurs have the access and tools to be successful, create jobs, and contribute to development and economic growth,” Ellis said.
She further said the initiative was directly aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“This includes SDG Goal 8 – achieving sustained and inclusive employment and economic growth.
“It will also contribute toward SDG 16 which is focused on promoting peaceful societies for sustainable development.
“Going forward, we plan to connect the young entrepreneurs with their colleagues around the Commonwealth.
“This is so that we can foster and increase trade between all our countries,” she added.
Mr Bernard Takyi from Entrepreneurs Club in Ghana, who was elected as the inaugural Regional Coordinator of CAYE-WA, noted that entrepreneurship was a sustainable way to eradicate poverty.