Z Zurich Foundation (ZZF), insurance giant Zurich’s charity arm, has announced its partnership with youth-serving non-profits JA Worldwide and JA Africa aimed at paving a bright future for the continent’s young people.
Unveiled on International Youth Day, the collaboration is designed to help young Africans “succeed… as innovative job creators and well-qualified job seekers, [while] following the path best-suited to their economic realities.”
This comes as data from the African Development Bank reveals that between 10 million and 12 million African students who finish their education each year compete for just three million jobs, resulting in sub-Saharan African youth becoming entrepreneurs “by necessity, not by choice.”
“Many young Africans are entrepreneurial by nature but may be limited in their ability to develop solutions to the challenges around them and capture value from those solutions,” said Simi Nwogugu, chief executive officer of JA Africa. “The ZZF-JA partnership will help African youth develop the resilience, problem-solving and design-thinking skills, and mental well-being they need to understand the complex problems in the region and design sustainable solutions, and mentorship will play an important role.”
Asheesh Advani, CEO of JA Worldwide, added that the partnership is expected to impact the lives of more than 550,000 young people across nine countries – Burkina Faso, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, and Uganda – resulting in greater capacity in four current JA Africa countries and brand-new operations in five.
“The partnership integrates the education and economic ecosystems of the countries in which we work, leading to long-term sustainability,” he said.
In Friday’s event unveiling the collaboration, the panelists, composed of representatives from the ZZF, JA Worldwide, and JA Africa, noted that they are working together to create a “new breed of partnerships that develops an ecosystem of role models and mentors.”
These educators will work with young people through a mix of digital learning experiences, conventional media – such as television, radio, and podcasts – and face-to-face learning. After the students graduate, regional and local vehicles will either match students with employers or help youth launch businesses through incubators and seed grants.
“For Africa to be successful as a continent, all our youth need access to immersive education that leads to economic success,” said Nwogugu. “Through this partnership, we’ll create entrepreneurship ecosystems that work together to fuel young Africans to become changemakers, creating businesses that solve the continent’s challenges with climate change, food shortages, and inadequate infrastructures for health and education.”
Grégory Renand, head of ZZF, agreed and expressed excitement with the collaboration.
“JA is best known for utilizing volunteers to deliver educational experiences,” he said. “We are very proud of this new partnership, delivering interventions and skill-based expertise with the aim to create brighter futures in Africa, building on impactful programs we’ve already built with JA around the world.
“The Z Zurich Foundation’s expertise on social equity and mental well-being nicely complements JA’s track record in building resilience and self-efficacy in more than 12 million young people every year.”