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Eight African Young Women-Led Businesses Wins $800,000 AfDB grant

Eight dynamic African young women-led businesses have emerged as winners of the 2023 YouthAdapt challenge.

At the award presented on the sidelines of the ongoing COP28 in Dubai, the AfDB said each of the businesses would receive grant funding of up to 100,000 dollars.

The bank also said each participant would also receive comprehensive mentorship and coaching as part of a 12-month accelerator programme.

Since its inauguration in 2021, the YouthADAPT initiative has provided more than five million dollars to 33 young entrepreneurs from 19 African nations.

The initiative was jointly organised by the AfDB Group and the Global Centre on Adaptation, with support from the Africa Climate Change Fund.

Youth Adapt is an annual competition for young entrepreneurs leading micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises in Africa with innovative climate change adaptation solutions.

This year’s focus is on female-owned enterprises pioneering Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) technologies such as artificial intelligence and big data analytics.

It said others were virtual reality, robotics, the Internet of Things, quantum computing, additive manufacturing, blockchain, and fifth-generation wireless for climate adaptation.

The AfDB President, Dr Akinwumi Adesina while speaking at the event emphasised the importance of harnessing youth ideas and creativity to enhance livelihoods and national prosperity.

“The Jobs for Youth in Africa and the Skills Employability initiatives at the Bank stand as a testament to our commitment.

”We aim to create 25 million jobs for our youth, ensuring that 250 million individuals find their path to the labour market. ”

The Youth ADAPT initiative, therefore, is a pledge to invest in the youth and shape a thriving future.”

During a panel discussion, Cheryl Urban, Canada’s Assistant Deputy Minister for Sub-Saharan Africa, spoke about the critical role development finance institutions can play.

“The AfDB’s YouthADAPT programme provides crucial support in scaling up youth-led climate businesses and innovations in Africa. Canada is proud of being a contributor to the initiative,” Urban said.

Dr Beth Dunford, the AfDB’s Vice President for Agriculture, Human, and Social Development, stressed the importance of supporting entrepreneurs in tackling climate change.

She also emphasised the need to remove barriers to finance, particularly for women.

The African Union Youth Envoy, Chido Mpemba, underscored the need to foster effective information-sharing mechanisms across regions. Lucy Wangari, one of this year’s award recipients from Onion Doctor, a firm specialised in monitoring onion growth, said the award would motivate her to do more.

“It serves as a significant driver in scaling (our) innovative solution to boost local onion production by 20 per cent and transform the onion value chain into a lucrative employment source for farmers in Kenya’s arid and semi-arid Lands.”

Past winners shared experiences about how the grant empowered their ventures.

Fela Akinse, the Chief Executive Officer of Salubata business, converting plastic waste into affordable footwear, said the grant helped them expand, innovate to clean technologies and generate global impact.

The winning ventures, led by women from across Africa, focused on sectors affected by climate change: agriculture, energy efficiency, disaster risk management, water resources, and biodiversity conservation.

From Furera Mohammed and Dare Akogun

Dare Akogun

Dare Akogun is a dynamic media innovator, strategic communication professional, and seasoned climate and environmental sustainability journalist with over 10 years of influential contributions to the media industry.

He Currently serving as the Head of Digital Media, Senior News Editor, and a presenter at Sobi FM 101.9, a leading radio station in Ilorin, Nigeria.

Dare is on a mission to leverage his media innovation expertise and project management skills to produce high-quality, accurate, and engaging content, while advocating for reduced fossil fuel consumption, especially coal, to combat effect of global warming.

He has covered comprehensively environmental issues and COP conferences, including COP28 in Dubai last year , COP 27 in Egypt, and the United Nations Least Developed Countries conference in Doha, in 2023.

He is a recipient of fellowship to be part of a 15 team of journalists selected worldwide to cover the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue 2024.

He has a Master's Degree in Mass Communication, from the University of Lagos, a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from the Lagos State University and also a
Certification in Business Administration and Management, from the Babson College, Massachusetts, United States of America.

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