By Yusufu S. Bangura
Young Sierra Leonean Entrepreneurs keenly listening to various speakers
With support from of the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC), the Young African Entrepreneur Economic Forum (AYEF) and the Young Entrepreneurs Network have organized a three-day workshop for young entrepreneurs in Sierra Leone.
The three-day event started on Wednesday 11th January and would end on Friday 13th January 2023 at Bintumani Hotel, Aberdeen in Freetown, with the ‘Africa Youth Business Economic forum’.
Giving brief background about the workshop, President of the organizing committee at AYEF, Mefire Njoya Aichetou said the workshop is an annual high-level meeting which aims to bringing together young Africans living in Africa and those of the diaspora around Economic issues for the promotion of the African Free Trade Area for a better involvement of the African Diaspora in a revisited inter-African cooperation.
She said the African Youth Entrepreneurship Forum started in 2018 when she started working with cocoa farmers, and that during that time she realised that there were so many cocoa farms from the international organisation, adding that they decided to set up a big platform to bring people together to establish their products.
Aichetou continued that the African Youth Entrepreneurship Forum represents the largest conference carried out by African Diaspora organizations as approved by Article 3 of the Protocol on the Amendments to the Constitutive Act of the African Union on the Role of the Diaspora, and the Framework Convention of the Citizen and Diaspora Directorate of the African Union (CIDO).
She said the workshop was organized in accordance with the resolutions of the second diaspora focal points workshop 2018 in Khartoum, where young entrepreneurs and African diaspora stakeholders from around the world are actively engaged with young African entrepreneurs, local communities and governments in the fight against unemployment, promotion of self-employment and development of Africa by leading and participating in a multitude of initiatives at local, regional and continental level.
Also speaking, Charge d’ Affairs at German Embassy in Sierra Leone, Partick Dzierzon, said Sierra Leone remains one of the least developed countries in the world, ranking 182 out of 189 on the Human Development Index 2020.
He said high rates of underemployment as well as unemployment represent a constraint to the socioeconomic development and pose a risk to the political and social stability of the country.
He continued that youth and women in rural areas of Sierra Leone are particularly affected and 60-70% of the working population are classified as working poor, meaning that despite their employment, the household falls below the poverty line.
“The young entrepreneurs need to be the driven factors for the country’s development by creating jobs, creating innovation and encouraging others to go into entrepreneurship. We would continue to support Sierra Leone and creating value at home in order to drive sustainable development, so we would stand by your side developing the country into really values,” he said.