The Uganda Bureau of Statistics in 2018 reported that male youth are more active in the labour market with a higher labour force participation rate of 66% compared to the 50% for the women. This significant difference in percentage indicates that there is a lot stopping young women from working and setting up their own businesses. MasterCard Foundation launched their Young Africa Works program on Thursday, 23rd July 2020 to help advance opportunities for the youth and most especially the women. The program aims at targeting 70% young women with skills especially in Agriculture.
A pronounced number of young women who seek work face challenges like finding formal decent employment, a serious lack of marketable skills or a mismatch between the skills they have and those needed in the workplaces, unavailability of capital and places to bring their entrepreneurial ideas to life. The female youth, more than anybody, require financial inclusion because when entrepreneurs and their small and medium enterprises access funding, they have the ability to grow, expand, and create job opportunities for other women in the community.
The benefits of financially supporting women go further than the startup owners and entrepreneurs themselves. Increasing financial inclusion for female entrepreneurs and startups has more developmental gains in so many aspects like increase in job growth, easier management of risks, and increase in consumption. Young women need access to microfinance in order to improve sustainable development and also their human rights.
MasterCard Foundation through Young Africa Works has listened and acted according by unlocking the problems that are holding back young women. The program is changing the attitudes, mindsets and behaviors of these youth while equipping them with entrepreneurial skills. Young Africa works is now a catalyst meant to ensure that the young people most especially the women have enough funding and skills for their startups and most importantly the market for their produce which in the end helps their businesses to grow.
The Young Africa Works program is working together with The Innovation Village, Equity Bank, and Private Sector Foundation Uganda to create female success stories in the country.