EU funding for African entrepreneurs to boost jobs

A new EU programme aims to invest in young entrepreneurs and women in Africa and in turn deter them from migrating abroad.

The EU ‘Small Loans and Guarantee Programme Risk-Sharing Facility’ which forms part of the ‘External Investment Plan’ (EIP), will give young African entrepreneurs the opportunity to boost their small businesses. Under the programme, EUR 4.2 million has been allocated to help banks in Africa better assist small businesses and boost job creation. Local banks in Africa will be able to administer tailored loans and financial products to young Africans in low-income, fragile and conflict-affected countries.

The Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica said; “This new programme worth over EUR 4 million will make a real difference for those who often struggle to access sources of financing for their business ideas: women, young entrepreneurs or small businesses in low-income countries. We expect to support some 50,000 small businesses and help to create up to 200,000 jobs.”

Unemployment is one of the main factors pushing African youth, including Eritreans, to undertake the dangerous and expensive irregular journey to reach Europe. According to the World Bank, youths account for 60% of all unemployed in Africa.

Europe has been supporting young Africans and equipping them with the skills they need to get a job at home and in turn deter young people from migrating abroad. For example, in August 2018, the UK signed a GBP 115 million grant designed to create 100,000 jobs for locals and refugees in Ethiopia. In August 2018, Italy also announced plans to invest EUR 1 billion in Northern African countries to help stem migration flows from the region. North Africa is a major point of transit for irregular migrants heading towards Europe.

In December 2018, the EU also introduced the ‘EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa’ which aims to assist vulnerable migrants, foster labour migration and reduce irregular migration to Europe. Since 2015, the EU fund has allocated EUR 582.2 million to finance 23 programs to deal with migration-related challenges in Africa.

TMP – 25/04/2019

Photo credit: Jen Watson/Shutterstock

Photo caption: Woman harvesting green tea leaves in Western Kenya