The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in collaboration with the Thunderbird School of Global Management, has launched a scholarship scheme for 200 Ghanaian entrepreneurs.
The scholarship dubbed “Global Entrepreneurship and Innovation Bootcamp Scholarships for Youth” equips the youth to realize their entrepreneurial dreams and elevate their career as an innovator within a global organization.
Ahunna Eziakonwa, regional director of UNDP, announced this at an interactive dialogue with Youth Groups and selected Senior High Schools in Accra on the theme: “Digital Economy and the AfCFTA.”
She said African youths were the future of the continent and the more investment targeted at youth programmes, the better to improve on their potentials for sustainable growth.
She said the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) was a continental agreement to bring down barriers to intra- African trade so that it could lead to growth, economic and social transformation across Africa.
Digital tools and platforms were the keys to facilitating trade across borders, stressing that to reap the full benefits of the AfCFTA, Africa must change its ways of doing business and promote the digital transformation of the continent.
She said Africa had huge volumes of natural resources that were not yet contributing fully to the development and that the AfCFTA was a vehicle for Africa to add value to their natural resources and improve the quality of goods and services through regional value chains.
“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.”
“We are committed to helping countries to fully harness the potential of digital technologies and innovations towards Africa’s development,” she said.
She said UNDP was partnering with youth to strengthen capabilities and networks so that youth and women-led small businesses could recover from COVID-19 and compete well in the single African market.
Philip Thigo, the senior director for Africa at the Thunderbird School of Global Management, said the scholarship would identify and incorporate the skills and traits of successful entrepreneurs and their enterprises.
“It will also learn to leverage the holistic global entrepreneurship ecosystem and related drivers, gain knowledge and skills from case examples spanning multiple countries to adopt success practices.”
He urged the youth to seize the opportunity and apply for the scholarship to either nurture or improve on their 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,” he advised.