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UNDP, Thunderbird Management Sch launch scholarship programme for African Youth

UNDP, Thunderbird Management Sch launch scholarship programme for African Youth

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with Thunderbird School of Global Management based in the United states and Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ) have launched a 100 Global Entrepreneurship and Innovation Bootcamp Scholarships for African Youth at Ghana Institute of Journalism(GIJ) in Accra.

The Senior Director for Africa at the Thunderbird School of Global Management, Philip Thigo is providing 100 scholarships to brilliant young people in Africa the opportunity to take part in the bootcamp scholarships programme across Africa which includes Ghana.

With a unique focus on global dynamics in an era of disruption and rapid change, the curriculum features 16 leading- edge themes key to global entrepreneurial success in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

This timely and interactive program offers new dimensions in online management education tailored for maximum flexibility, empowering entrepreneurial leaders and innovators with templates for starting new global businesses and non-profits and proven 21st Century strategies for creating value through innovation in existing enterprises across the private, non-profit and public sectors.

The Bootcamp equips the youth to realize your entrepreneurial dreams and elevate your career as an innovator within a global organization.

Meanwhile the UNDP together with GIJ have engaged some youth groups in a dialogue on digital economy and how to maximize potentials in AfCFTA.

The objective is to highlight on innovation and digital transformation as enablers for the three dimensions of change of the new UNDP Stragic Plan.

Speaking to the youth groups, Assistant Administrator and RBA Director at UNDP, Ahunna Eziakonwa highlighted on the importance of the dialogue on Digital Economy and the AfCFTA, which are two areas of catalytic change for the continent.

She noted “it is a fact African youth are the future of the continent and the more investment put in the youth would be a step in the right direction.”

“I am currently in Ghana to attend the YouthConnekt Africa Summit which has just ended, and as you may be aware, the YouthConnekt Africa Summit is an annual convening that connects youth from across the continent and beyond with policy influencers, political leaders, public/private and development sector institutions to engage, discuss, design, and accelerate youth empowerment efforts at the continent level”, she said.

“We have just heard an inspiring poet speak to the complex challenges that youth face today. We have also heard some encouraging words about what is possible when youth stand up and use their influence in business and in the marketplace. This is why today’s topic for discussion, digitalization and the AfCFTA is so important”, she added.

She explained that digitalization speaks to applying technologies to everyday life and trade is a central piece of our increasingly digital lives, adding that, goods are purchased online, paying for physical services through digital platforms like mobile money while some develop applications (apps) and software used for banking, transactions, maps, health tracking among others.

“For those of you may not be familiar with the African Continental Free trade area (AfCFTA), this is a continental agreement to bring down barriers to intra- African trade so that it can lead to growth, economic and social transformation across Africa”, she explained.

Miss Eziakonwa reiterated that Digital tools and platforms are key to facilitating trade across borders, stating that, in order to reap the full benefits of the AfCFTA Africans must change the way they do business and promote the digital transformation of the continent.

” You, as part of the 400 million young people in Africa aged between 15 to 35 years are strategically positioned to be drivers of Africa’s integration agenda. You could be part of the digital generation that will power the implementation of AfCFTA so that we can all prosper”, she noted.
She said due to the huge volumes of natural resources that are not yet contributing fully to development, AfCFTA would be the vehicle for Africans to add value to their natural resources and improve the quality of goods and services through regional value chains.

She argued that through AfCFTA, small producers like the entrepreneurs producing Tiger Nuts would be able to expand the market for their products beyond their borders and have easier access to ideas and technologies available across Africa.

“This is why UNDP’s new strategic plan considers digitalization, strategic innovation, and development financing as enablers for transforming the way our economies work for people so that no one is left behind”,

She again pledged UNDP commitment to help countries to fully harness the potential of digital technologies and innovations towards Africa’s development.

“The future is digital and Africa’s future is led by youth”, she added.

“You are the generation that will ensure that AfCFTA is not just another agreement, instead it can be leveraged to benefit the whole continent. At the heart of UNDPs Renewed Strategic Offer for Africa is our belief that Africa’s youth have the potential to drive sustainable development. So, our programme focus is to support youth leadership, youth inclusion and youth skills development so you can build the future we all want”

” Your ideas and innovations are already changing the digital landscape and creating new products and services that can be traded across borders”,

She further indicated that, In Ghana, UNDP has supported 42 young innovators, who are transforming their space and creating jobs through seed funding of about 500,000 US dollars as well as also partnering with youth to strengthen capabilities and networks that the Youth and Women-led small businesses can recover from COVID-19 and compete well in the single African market.

“We want to continue to walk with young people to promote digital innovation for the fourth industrial revolution. Today, in partnership with the Thunderbird School of Global Management, we will be giving you the opportunity to benefit from a Global Entrepreneurship & Innovation Virtual Bootcamp. This program equips students to realize their entrepreneurial dreams and elevate their career as innovators in this global community”, she stressed.

She therefore urged the youth groups to seize the opportunity and apply for the scholarship to either nurture or improve on your innovative ideas and skills.

“You are the strength of your society and the future of this nation and continent, so take advantage of the opportunities that are presented to you and make use of them towards a brighter future”, Miss Eziakonwa noted.

In a speech delivered on behalf of the Rector of GIJ, Dr. Modestus Fosu also made comments that Africans potential and future lies with the youth and therefore the crucial issues that underpins AfCFTA cannot be fully realised with seriousness unless integrating or embedding the youth in decision-making processes which can create worthwhile living for the youth in this digital continuum.

He pledged the support of the Institution, as communication tool, to connect the youth to make AfCFTA dreams comes to reality.

Source: Eric Nii Sackey

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