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Objective of the project
To set up a range of financial and non-financial services for young entrepreneurs.
Areas of intervention
Burkina Faso, Togo, Niger, Rwanda
CIF, RCPB, FUCEC, ASUSU, UFC
1,802 young adults have received loans
84% of the microbusinesses financed in 2008/09 are still thriving today
2,300 jobs created
Despite the promise and potential they represent, young people find it particularly difficult to obtain funding since they are considered to be high risk clients. Indeed, this is why their lack of experience and of a guarantee is are often used by financial organisations as justification for their decision not to target young people as clients. In 2013, the unemployment rate amongst young Burkinabe, who account for 50% of the country’s population, was 25%.
ADA has established a support project within selected MFIs in order to facilitate the integration of young people in Africa into professional life. Accordingly, the “Young entrepreneurs” pilot project has been launched in the RCPB (Réseau des Caisses Populaires du Burkina Faso – Network of Credit Unions in Burkina Faso), a Burkinabe MFI.
Working in collaboration with this MFI, ADA has developed a project called “Créd’art”, which is comprised of three credit products and three savings products, as well as training, which has a particular focus on financial education and entrepreneurial spirt and which is provided to the young Burkinabe before they receive the funding.
These products are made available to young people who are able to fulfil the following specific criteria:
The young people in receipt of the funding are engaged, for the most part, in trades such as hairdressing, dress making, joinery, bricklaying, jewellery making, plumbing or electrical services.
The “Créd'art” pilot project has produced very positive results since its creation at the end of 2011. After five years of testing and evaluation, the RCPB has concluded that this is a good product which provides genuine added value to society, whilst generating financial returns. The figures speak for themselves: in 2015, a total of 760 new credits were accorded to young entrepreneurs in Burkina Faso, representing an overall volume of 425,683 EUR.
Since the Créd’art funding began to be distributed:
In 2014, following a rigorous identification and selection process, a decision was taken to establish a programme to integrate young people into professional life, along the lines of the Créd’art project, in two new MFIs from two different countries, namely ASUSU in Niger and FUCEC in Togo. The action consists in the provision of a technical support fund and a guarantee fund which will enable the MFIs to develop both financial and non-financial services which are tailored to meet with the needs of the young entrepreneurs who form the target group of this project.
The programme was formulated with the partners at the end of 2014 and began in 2015 within the agencies of these two MFIs; it is spread out across 10 ASUSU agencies in Niamey and two in the provinces, as well as in three FUCEC credit unions in Lomé and three in the provinces.
In 2016, the two MFIs wish to achieve the objective of providing funding to 550 young entrepreneurs. Moreover, non-financial services that are developed will educate more than 1,500 young Nigerians and Togolese to financial education through pre-training sessions given before any funding.
Credits are awarded on each MFI own resources, but the project provides the establishment of a guarantee fund to partially hedge the risks on the loan portfolio.
Each fund is fed thanks to Rotary Luxembourg amounting to € 26,000 for FUCEC and € 35,000 for ASUSU. The latter is also fed by LuxDev as part of the project to support the national program for vocational and technical training.
Yacouba works unstintingly. He loves his work and he is looking for a larger workshop – a place where he can hire a new apprentice and showcase more items. Young micro-entrepreneurs often hire staff or apprentices to help them in their businesses. Since 2008, around 1,200 jobs have been created by young artisans having set up their businesses thanks to Créd-art.
Yacouba is unobtrusive, and he doesn’t show off about his success with big smiles. Only the sparkle in his eyes confirms that, thanks to a helping hand, he has changed his future.
Distributing the new Créd’art financial product also contributes to expanding RCPB’s activities, by broadening its loan portfolio, extending its clientele and improving its social performance. A long-term policy was launched for the Créd’art product, in early 2014, enabling RCPB to take over all distribution and management of Créd’art. By late 2014, the MFI was preparing to disseminate Créd’art in its branches in two secondary towns, Bobo Dioulasso and Koudougou, to reach more young people. ADA is planning its withdrawal from the project in 2016.
A summit on African Youth was held in Kigali on 16 and 17 February. The event was organized by the MasterCard Foundation. The foundation today is a major player in the promotion of youth on the African continent. Since 2010, it has committed more than $ 400 million to 37 projects across 19 countries.
For the occasion, more than 300 key players involved in the promotion of youth in Rwanda and neighboring countries were invited, including policy-makers, researchers, NGOs, MFIs, the private sector and a delegation of 50 young farmers -entrepreneurs and students in the subregion.
ADA, which has been promoting initiatives for young entrepreneurs in Africa with its local partners since 2009 in four target countries including Rwanda, was also invited.
60% of the African population is under the age of 24, and 11 millions of young people enter the labor market each year. Absorbing this workforce is one of the most important social and economic challenges that the continent is facing. While cities are overcrowded and offer few formal jobs, the agricultural sector represents the best opportunity to offer young people decent jobs and ensure the development of the future populations.
In order to create more opportunities for young people, however, the agricultural sector must change from subsistence agriculture to a modernized commercial agriculture.
Lindiwe Majele Sibanda, Director General of the Network for the Analysis of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policies (FANRPAN), underlines on this issue that "agricultural transformation must be based on three main axes: skills, attitude and access to land and capital ".
The various panelists have tried to set the conditions for a real agricultural transformation and to answer the question: How to achieve this systemic agricultural transformation? Key non-exhaustive answers were:
Prospects and challenges for the professional integration of young people in Africa
To achieve the creation of new jobs, efforts aimed at agricultural transformation should not be limited to the strengthening of agricultural production. Economist David Tschirley explains that all activities related to the transportation, processing and marketing of production have a much greater potential for job creation than production itself. All the more so as demand from African households for processed agricultural commodities is increasing in both urban and rural areas.
In the future, governments, donors and the private sector must concentrate on the value chain as a whole. Such an approach would inevitably increase the outlets for agricultural production and substitute a proportion of imports by local products.
New technologies are also a major issue in agricultural processing. On one hand, they are a mean of increasing the productivity of farms and reducing the hardship of work, but also of anticipating and managing the effects of climate change. On the other hand, new technologies can improve the reputation of the agricultural professions and encourage more young rural people to consider agricultural and processing activities as modern and profitable enterprises.
An interesting approach to support young farmers
One Acre Fund is an NGO located in remote rural areas of East Africa. It has developed a service that provides access to an "integral" package that encompasses all the needs of small farmers:
The service provided to the farmer allows him to reduce the risks associated with lack of input, misuse, loss at harvest and maximize yields with the means at his disposal.
The model developed by One Acre Fund opens up interesting avenues for financing young farmers.
This story has been made possible thanks to the microfinance institution RCPB, which believed in young people's capacity to set up and manage their own micro-enterprises. ADA has cooperated with CIF and RCPB since 2008 to put in place and develop Créd’art in Burkina Faso.
We want to thank also the two MFIs who have joined the project in 2015, FUCEC and ASUSU, and decided to develop these products for the youth of their country within their institutions.
The Young Entrepreneurs project has been supported by Rotary Luxembourg since the very beginning.