Young people are receiving critical skills development, particularly much-needed entrepreneurship skills to empower youth to start and build their own businesses, thanks to investments by Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA) as the African continent celebrates International Youth Day today.
The theme for this year’s International Youth Day is “Intergenerational Solidarity”, and acts as a reminder for the need to collaborate to strengthen key partnerships across Africa to ensure that no one gets left behind.
According to the United Nations, small businesses run by youth and young women account for close to 60 percent of Africa’s GDP, creating about 450 million jobs.
Tshidi Ramogase. Group Director Public Affairs, Communication and Sustainability at CCBA, says economic inclusion plays a critical role in providing economic opportunities to the youth by providing them access to markets and other economic activities.
“Developing entrepreneurs for the future creates the possibility to link them to the Coca-Cola value chain today or in the future,” said Ramogase.
CCBA directly empowers thousands of young people every year through various programmes across its markets, enabling their inclusion in the economy. In 2020, CCBA empowered over 11,000 young people through various programmes enabling their inclusion in the economy.
Ramogase added: “Our aim is to boost income, provide decent earning potential and improve skills and business knowledge for youth, and in particular women, resulting in them accessing other opportunities.”
For instance, CCBA-Ethiopia has partnered with Sumuni to launch the first web and app-based due diligence platform that connects potential investors with entrepreneurs and startups. The Sumuni gateway, with funding from the Coca-Cola bottler, will support about 10 startups a year with ETB 100, 000 in seed funding for each startup.
Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA) has also spent more than R105 million towards its Bizniz in a Box initiative and most recently, its Study Buddy Fund. The company launched Bizniz in a Box in 2016, primarily aimed at transforming aspirant entrepreneurs into fully-fledged business owners who can create a livelihood for themselves and others.
Through Bizniz in a Box, CCBSA has financially supported and provided training to over 700 entrepreneurs across the country. The Study Buddy Fund was launched in 2021 and has enabled 55 young people from 14 host communities where its facilities are located to access tertiary education. The fund pays for full tuition, accommodation fees and a monthly stipend.
In Ghana, Voltic (GH) Limited – a subsidiary of Coca-Cola Beverages Africa – has supported the career development of young women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. Earlier this year, Voltic joined the non-profit organisation Girls in Science and Technology (GIST) to launch the GIST- University of Mines and Technology, Tarkwa chapter.
The programme introduces GIST to women students at the university and promotes their participation in STEM, while sparking their interest in the endless career opportunities available to them.
In the Ngong Hills of Kenya we have onboarded the Go Green Youth Club, which has a team of over 19 members. Supporting them by installing segregation stations across Ngong Hills, the youth collect, aggregate and deliver recyclable waste to respective recyclers in Nairobi for processing. The project has seen the youth group deliver approximately 500kg of PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) plastics to recyclers in Nairobi monthly, therefore conserving the forest by reducing pollution and creating livelihoods for them.
The Kuza Kazi initiative was launched in 2019 with the aim of harnessing the power of The Coca-Cola Company’s supply chain to create jobs for Kenyan youths every year in partnership with like-minded private sector entities and with support from County Governments. By the end of 2021, the initiative was able to empower over 1000 youth across Kericho, Kisii, Migori, Kwale and Nyeri counties in Kenya.
Ramogase concludes “By investing in youth economic inclusion, we have created shared value in hopes of a better shared future – enabling improved livelihoods for young people, their families and their communities, while inclusively expanding our business.”