Africa has the largest concentration of young people in the world, with nearly 20% of the continent's population under the age of 25—and almost 75% under the age of 35. As these young people enter the workforce, there is a serious risk of unemployment—but there is an also an opportunity for rapid economic growth.
Opportunity International invests in this burgeoning youth population by developing technical vocational training programs that encourage young people to pursue entrepreneurial ventures and equipping them with financial resources and training. With ongoing educational programs, relationships with local business leaders, and start-up capital, young people have the resources they need to build their own businesses, support themselves, and contribute to their families' wellbeing.
Youth Entrepreneurship in Action
In Ghana, the Youth Apprenticeship Program pairs young people with successful business owners and artisans who mentor the apprentices and provide training in a marketable craft or skill. In addition, program participants receive ongoing business management training and upon graduation, they can apply for an Opportunity loan to start their own business.
For Joyce, a hairdresser in Kumasi, Ghana, YAP was so valuable that she took on her own apprentices after finishing the program and establishing a successful shop. She is a young business owner who is now mentoring other girls in her community to support themselves, too.