By Bida Elly David
African Development Bank (AfDB) in collaboration with Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) and University of Juba yesterday launched an entrepreneurship and innovation project.
The project aims to train innovative youth in recognizing the need to address poverty as a significant factor in fragility and youth unemployment.
Themba, Bhebhe, the Country Director of the African Development Bank said the Bank committed $3.5 Million for three Countries including South Sudan.
“South Sudan is among Countries in the region where Socio-economic development is constrained by fragility hampering progress towards inclusive growth,” he said.
According to Themba, AfDB targets Djibouti, South Sudan, and Sudan as Countries to benefit from the project.
“The project is a three-year project program starting next year, what we did was a pre-launching but the technical launch about spacemen or how much to be spent will be next,” he explained.
He said the youth, after the training, will be urged to apply for entrepreneurial capital for starting enterprises of different kinds under evaluation.
“IGAD and the University will select the beneficiaries based on transparent criteria which are also taking into consideration gender balance and disadvantaged youth,” he added.
Dereje T. Wakjira, IGAD Director for Pastoral Areas and Livestock Development said the entrepreneurial project is centered on environment and agriculture.
“We want innovations and entrepreneurship from the youth of South Sudan to support this value chain because it has the capacity to observe a large number of their employment,” he said.
“Our target in this project is to help good entrepreneurs with good business ideas but suffer lack of funding, these are people who are looking.”
Mr. Wakjira further stated that the idea would create employment for youth in society with a small money.
“It is an open call, we need to balance since that is the direction, University as a source of knowledge and a game changer,’’ Dereje said
For his part, John Akec, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Juba applauded the two partners for their support and promised to implement the project.
He said the training and the funding will reduce the rate of unemployment across the Country.
“We from the project will be looking at the food value chain, where we will launch enterprises that will create jobs and skills in South Sudan,” he said.
He said what happened was a consultative meeting but the project has already been approved to be executed.
“We are thinking, reflecting on how the project floating ideas on how the developed project can be put into effect bearing in mind the needs of the Country for stability and security,” he added.
The project is deemed fit as it will shit the Country from a stage of poverty to a profitable country.