Solving the Problem of the Youth by the Youth: Part I

In a country where the youth unemployment rate is estimated to be nearly 27% (according to USAID), it is hard to not ask what is happening and why so many people are not finding work. This problem over time has caused many to wonder and argue on whether there is a lack of work or if there is a lack of talent. Looking at the several organizations and companies working to resolve the issue, it seems evident that it plays a big role in unemployment. Ethiopia graduated 120,000 students from public universities in 2019/2020. Yet, a vast majority of these graduates will not find employment.

For many, not finding employment is the main reason they get into entrepreneurship, and for others, entrepreneurship is the way to their dreams and passion. Whatever the reason, the question remains: do you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur? In our second Kazana Webinar, we had the pleasure to host Samiya Abdulkadir from Ethiopian Youth Entrepreneur Association (EYEA), along with our chairman Addis Alemayehou.

EYEA is an Ethiopian-based association working with and on young entrepreneurs. Its main purpose is to understand, support, empower, advocate, and promote the social, economic, and entrepreneurial interests of its members and youth entrepreneurs in Ethiopia. According to Samiya, there are four problems that entrepreneurs face in Ethiopia and they are as follows: “The first problem faced is the lack of timely and necessary information and network” Samiya said. “The second problem faced is the lack of competency in terms of knowledge, skill, and attitude” she continued. “Thirdly, the lack of legislation and adequate policy in the country causes a lot of entrepreneurs to give up on their ideas. And lastly, the lack of finance creates problems for entrepreneurs'' Samiya concluded.

This article will be a four-part article regarding the webinar we hosted.

“The first problem faced is the lack of timely and necessary information and network” Samiya said.

Solving non-information

It goes without saying that these problems need to be addressed just as much as the unemployment problem. An issue to highlight greatly in Ethiopia is that of information, especially for startups. No one really knows what’s what and how to do anything. This in return becomes discouraging and causes young people with so much energy and drive to burn out. The solution would be to provide a one-stop platform in which all information relating to entrepreneurs and businesses can be found. This would save time for the business owners and make starting and running a business in Ethiopia much easier. Additionally, the same platform can and should provide a platform for both regional and federal institutions and initiatives.

In order to solve non-information, the youth and start-up founders need to be open about their struggles and their findings as well. There are several businesses and so many young people going from one place to another looking for information. Whereas, this has been the same struggle for so many other young people. Sharing experiences and the paths they have walked through would be much more helpful for young people going into the world of business. This would decrease the lack of motivation that comes as a result of bureaucracy and wandering.

The EYEA in solving this problem works by sharing experiences between members. Samia, during the webinar, states: “I believe in sharing experiences, experiences hold value. My experiences can save another person so much time and energy and the next person even more”. One of the main goals of the EYEA is to provide the youth with the necessary as well as adequate information when starting a business as well as when being a start-up. They provide answers from simple what questions to where and why questions.

To be continued…

Written By: Heldana Michael

Watch the full webinar here.