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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 September 2006, 14:54 GMT 15:54 UK
Are African youths enterprising?
An international conference to discuss ways of resolving youth unemployment opened on Wednesday in Nairobi, Kenya.

Getting a decent and productive job is a major challenge for young people in Africa, who make up 60% of the continent's population. In countries like Sierra Leone up to half of all young people lack work.

While there are many success stories, there may be even more examples of how budding entrepreneurs are stopped in their tracks by practical problems and red tape.

Are you a young African entrepreneur trying to make it? What made you succeed or fail? What help do you need to succeed? How tricky is it for young people to access finance to start a business in your country? What's the best way to engage young people? Are the youth doing enough to create job opportunities for themselves?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments. You can read a selection below.

At this point in time the African education system and cultures still do not promote the youths to be self thinkers, creative nor enterprising. Some schools including universities can use a single text book for generations yet in the developed world, books change every semester. Some culture elements in Africa do not promote self esteem and open self venting. This way all the African youths are not given a chance to explore themselves to bring the best out of themselves.
Richard , Dallas Texas-USA

Young Nigerians are trying as much as they can to come out of poverty. Where i live they are trained by NGOs on skills acquisition that will brighten the future. The oil company operating in my area empowers them through SME managers who train and afterwards give them loans to start up. I wish it could be so all over the country. Let young men and women stop complaining and try to be self reliant.
Victor Owo, Eket Nigeria

High interest rates on loans from microfinance institutions and the demand for collateral security in Uganda is 'killing' the youths endeavours for enterprises of their dreams.
Eliab, kampala, Uganda

In the part of Africa which I live youths are rather empowered with arms by politicians to help them win elections instead of giving them money to start a business or train them in requisite skills.
Stella Pepple, Nigeria

Basically, there are two categories of African youths. One group strive hard to be enterprising but their efforts are thwarted by unequal access to capital. Micro-credits and access to loans is politicized in some countries. Another group is not enterprising, possibly weakened by the politico-economic structures. They prefer to seat idle, engage in games, drugs and pick pocketing. There is need to encourage youths to be more enterprising by providing them with opportunities irrespective of political affiliation.
Sigismond Wilson, Sierra Leonean in USA

As the common saying in Africa goes "Education is the key to success". Youths need have some kind of papers to acquire relatively decent jobs. I think many strategies and programmes to curb youth unemployment have been put in place. However it seems few of the many African youths have been integrated into these programmes. It's hard to start up a business that will automatically bring profits as well as interests required to pay back the borrowed finances.
Prossy Nannyombi, Entebbe, Uganda

Lots of youths have very wonderful entrepreneurial ideas but the means of making them come to fruition is extremely difficult. Acute shortage of reasonable credit facilities and excessive taxes are just part of the problem. Endemic corruption isn't also helping. It's extremely shameful that most African governments continue to discourage youths to get into business as a means of livelihood.
chi primus, Bamenda, Cameroon

Youths have the skills but there are no jobs and no money to start small business. Skill alone is meaning less. Let the Governments start providing loans/ grants and create jobs for youths otherwise the near future will be affected. On the other hand there are few insinuations which are offering skills to youths more especially orphans who have no one to pay for their fees. Hoping the international conference taking place in Nairobi will tackle the above issues and find lasting solutions. other it will just be another rhetoric which just befits participants with allowances and other stuff.
Gady Mwamba Museka, Lusaka, Zambia

The African youths are enterprising but over taxation is killing all their initiative.
Nshom Ernest Bah, Mbingo, Cameroon

A combination of lack of enabling environment, endemic corruption and laziness permeates my native Sierra Leone. Everybody wants to be rich but no one wants to start from the bottom. If you are poor forget it, no loan to you. Where there is loan, it is usually at very high interest rate and the process of getting it too bureaucratic and cumbersome. I once opened a shop selling general merchandise and employed young people to give them opportunity and returned to the UK. In few months these people wrecked my business. The culture of corruption in government offices which goes unpunished has influenced corruption in the private sector.
Franklyn Kajue, London

The youths are the future leaders of any nation in the world. If the youths are not properly developed, they will become a burden on the society. The government should come up with programs that are beneficial to the them such as vocational and skills training programs, small business and loan schemes etc. Anyone that successfully completes the program should be given interest free loan to get started. A body should be established to monitor the progress of those getting started. No matter how big your vision or dream is, without financial backing, it will not materialize.
Omorodion Osula, Boston, USA

African youth don' lack jobs!!! They work but the money enters someone else's pocket. The returns for the hard work of the African youth are intangible. Bad governance ensures that the hard work of the masses goes to swell the pockets of the corrupt boss or politician, who like fishing in troubled waters!!! I'm a seasoned victim & now eat what accrues from my sweat!
Ngwasi Chibikom, Yaounde, Cameroon

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