- CEDA notes that project planning and symposium was youth-led
- EU Delegation, BIDPA, Niras and Change Africa are project partners
As part of the Policy Dialogue Facilitation project led by the Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) in collaboration with the European Delegation (EU) in Botswana, the two institutions recently hosted a policy dialogue symposium themed “Towards a Responsive Youth Entrepreneurship Ecosystem in Botswana”.
The project seeks to improve the youth entrepreneurship ecosystem to make it more responsive to the realities of the youth with the symposium held to set the tone of youth inclusion in entrepreneurship and bring stakeholders operating in that space together to share ideas and solutions.
The CEO of CEDA, Thabo Thamane, told attendants that the development finance institute was leading the project on behalf of the government, together with its main partners, the EU Delegation in Botswana, Botswana Institute for Development Policy Analysis (BIDPA) as policy partner, as well as Niras and Change Africa as implementing partners. “Together with other project partners, we are here today as partners and stakeholders participating in the entrepreneurship ecosystem to join hands and collaborate in exploring approaches to improving youth entrepreneurship through the deployment of relevant and inclusive products and services,” Thamane said.
While there has been traction in fostering youth entrepreneurship at national policy and sectoral programming levels, Thamane said evidence shows that more still needs to be done, hence the timeliness of the project and symposium. According to the CEO, since the project launch on 17 March 2023, the facilitators of the project have made it their mission to have it youth-led with all project activities such as social media dialogues, radio and TV interviews, and the overall planning of the project and symposium spearheaded by youth, for the youth.
“It has been extremely heart-warming to see young entrepreneurs taking the lead in driving this game-changing initiative and sharing ideas, solutions, and their thoughts on what can be done to promote youth entrepreneurship,” the CEO said. Officiating at the event, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Entrepreneurship, Joel Ramaphoi, said the challenge of promoting and sustaining impactful youth entrepreneurial activity required innovative and responsive interventions. “Achieving this will require genuine collaboration between key business development and entrepreneurship stakeholders,” he said.
“Thus, our gathering today defines a new course in engaging and contributing to solutions that will chart a sustainable path for entrepreneurship development and craft solutions to ramp up youth entrepreneurship, subsequently contributing to reducing the rate of youth unemployment while boosting economic development.”
Ramaphoi empahsised that the project and symposium provided a unique opportunity to rethink the approach to entrepreneurship to enhance citizen and youth participation in helping to develop a better Botswana for all. He said CEDA is committed to extending this dialogue across the country to further engage the youth in other major centres and rural areas to deepen the inclusivity and representativeness of the policy dialogue.