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Digital pan-African platform for young entrepreneurs launches in West and North Africa

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Photo: Aude Rossignol/UNDP

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Accenture announced the launch of YAS! (Youth for Africa and Sustainable Development Goals, a pan-African entrepreneurship portal-platform) with a two-day programme in Lagos.  The Portal-Platform addresses four main pillars of the entrepreneurship ecosystem: Information, Mentorship, Funding and Network.

“Africa’s entrepreneurial space is advancing rapidly – however, success stories are often isolated and commonly found only on the national or regional level”, according to Lamin Momodou Manneh, UNDP’s Regional Director. “In North and West Africa, Nigeria and Egypt are taking a lead role while other localities remain marginalized. YAS! will help to scale these efforts across the region – and the entire continent – to improve on the individual achievements and make them collective.”

YAS! is an initiative of UNDP, developed by its Regional Service Centre for Africa (RSCA) and powered by Accenture that aims to connect entrepreneurs to the resources they need to develop and grow their ideas or businesses. Users can interact on the platform, leveraging features such as learning, an ecosystem map, and information around opportunities for funding youth development.

Business and Development

Kenyan President Tells Local Assemblers to Produce Affordable Vehicles for Kenyans

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President Uhuru Kenyatta has urged local motor vehicle assemblers to innovate ways of producing quality vehicles that are affordable for Kenyans. The President said this will discourage the buying of imported used vehicles which are being sold at lower prices than those assembled locally.

ALSO READ: Is Kenya Becoming The New Dubai?

“We have to think outside the box. I encourage you to come up with real solutions in the motor vehicle industry that will benefit Kenyans,” he said.

The President spoke on Wednesday at State House in Mombasa when he met members of the Kenya Manufacturers Association.

They discussed the national automotive policy that is geared towards promoting the sector.

Manufacturing is one of the key pillars of the Big Four agenda through which the government aims to create jobs for the youth.

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Business and Development

Loans Help Kenyan Women Turn Idle Land Into Gold

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For the women of Tuluroba village’s self-help group, the goal was simple: use their combined savings to buy cattle, fatten them and sell them to the beef industry for slaughter.

But there was a problem.

“We had no land to graze the cattle. Nor could we obtain a loan from a bank to buy land, because as women we do not own title deeds,” said Fatuma Wario, who chairs the 13-strong group.

That is common. Few women in Kenya have land title documents, and few are getting them: since 2013, less than 2 percent of issued titles have gone to women, the Kenya Land Alliance, a non-profit, said in March 2018.

And because getting a loan from a mainstream bank requires collateral – typically in the form of a land title document – most women are locked out of the chance to start a business.

ALSO READ: 46 Year Old Woman Makes History in Kenya’s Pokot County Assembly

In the end, the women of the HoriJabesa group borrowed money from an institution that loans money to women’s groups without requiring a land title. Instead, the cash from their savings underwrites the loan.

In Wario’s case, that meant switching their savings account to the bank that was prepared to extend a $1,000 loan. Using that money and some of their savings, “we bought cattle and hired land to graze our stock”.

That was in 2017. Doing so meant the group could rent 10 acres (4 hectares) of pasture at a cost of 30,000 Kenyan shillings ($300) annually.

Interest on the loan is 12 percent per year. In their first year they earned $10,000 from their investment – with each fattened head of cattle bringing in a $30 profit.

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Business and Development

Arusha Sets More Land For New Industries

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At least 806 acres have been allocated for new industries set to be established in Arusha city.

The new industrial sites include Oljoro, Olmoti and Terrat suburbs on the southern fringes of the 272 square kilometer metropolitan.

The three areas are among those earmarked for industrial development under the Arusha 2035 Master Plan prepared by consultants from Singapore.

ALSO READ: Tanzania Government Has a Free Offer for Investors

Besides land allocation, the city authorities have started to put in place, requisite infrastructure for this purpose.

The city has just completed a survey of 300 plots for public use in various suburbs. These include eleven plots earmarked for the small scale industries.

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