07 October 2015 – Young entrepreneurs across East Africa have formed a regional coalition of youth business organisations. It is called the Commonwealth Alliance of Young Entrepreneurs-East Africa and includes 15 organisations from six countries: Kenya, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Tanzania and Uganda. The Alliance will encourage young people to start their own businesses, develop their enterprise skills and tackle unemployment.
Speaking at the Alliance’s launch in Kigali, Rwanda’s Minister for Youth and Information and Communication Technologies, Jean Philbert Nsengimana, said his Government is committed to building an enabling environment for young business leaders.
“Rwanda has identified pathways to promote entrepreneurship and has a focus on seizing opportunities, developing skills, harnessing creativity and collaboration, shifting attitudes, mobilizing resources and providing support,” he stated.
Martin Ruvugabigwi, Secretary General of the Network of Young Entrepreneurs of Rwanda, was elected the first Chairperson of the regional group. “The new network’s mission is to connect, unify and build the capacity of young entrepreneurs across East Africa, to drive trade, advocate for change and enhance the entrepreneurship culture,” he said. “This is a landmark initiative that will respond to youth unemployment. We will seek to partner with all stakeholders to make the best enabling environment for young entrepreneurs to grow and network.”
The East African coalition is modelled on similar Commonwealth Alliances in Asia and the Caribbean plus Canada, which bring young entrepreneurs together in their respective regions. It will be supported by the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Youth Division, directed by Katherine Ellis.
She said: “This new network will propel the enormously dynamic and talented young entrepreneurs of East Africa forward as they seek to build their businesses and grow as leaders. By encouraging enterprise and trade among young people within and across borders, the alliance will help to energise local economies, address spiralling youth unemployment and contribute to national development.”
The founding organisations of CAYE-East Africa are:
• Kenya Youth Business Trust, Nairobi (Kenya)
• Kenya Youth Business Trust, Mombasa (Kenya)
• National Association of Youth Enterprises (Kenya)
• Ministry of Youth and Sports (Mauritius)
• Rwanda Youth Action Network (Rwanda)
• Action for Change Initiative (Rwanda)
• Network for Young Entrepreneurs (Rwanda)
• Seychelles National Youth Council (Seychelles)
• Association for Young Entrepreneurs-Seychelles (Seychelles)
• Youth Entrepreneurship Board (Seychelles)
• National Economic Empowerment Council (Tanzania)
• DARECHA (Tanzania)
• Tanzania Entrepreneurship and Competitiveness Centre (Tanzania)
• Enterprise Uganda (Uganda)
• Youth Livelihood Programme, Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (Uganda)