Dr. Mathey’s caravan to fight youth unemployment in Africa pushes on
BY ALAN GREEN
Like a caravan pushing on mile after mile, Dr. Samuel Mathey’s theory that the African youth can go in business for themselves without relying on traditional funding keeps making inroads. After a week-long training of 200 youths in Bouake, Cote d’Ivoire’s second largest city, the organization behind the initiative held its first training session in Bamako, the capital of Mali, last week.
The African Foundation for Entrepreneurship and Economic Development (AFFEED), the organization founded a few years ago by Dr. Samuel Mathey to promote entrepreneurship and the concept of Zero Capital Entrepreneurship, ZCE, is proving to be a solution to youth unemployment in Sub-Saharan Africa. AFFEED, which is now active in more than a dozen African countries, just gained ground in Mali, where it held a training session for 100 Malian youths, 10-12 December. Dr. Mathey, who led the training session in person, was flanked by the AFFEED country-director for Mali, Kanouté Mariam Inna. They left behind twenty trainers who will carry on the job.
Aicha, a trainee, was quoted by a local news organization, Koaci, as saying that the training has transformed her life and shown her that she can now implement her project that had been on hold for over eight months due to the lack of financing. The feeling was shared by other trainees.
The training program in Mali was the second stop, last week, of the Zero Capital Entrepreneurship caravan. Earlier in the week, AFFEED’s trainer Jean Marc Kouamé addressed 200 Ivorian youths in the context of a week-long training on the ZCE theory in Côte d’Ivoire’s second largest city, Bouaké. Addressing the participants, Kouamé said:
“The unemployment rate is high in Côte d’Ivoire, and we can’t rely on the public service to solve this problem. Entrepreneurship is the only way out. Zero Capital Entrepreneurship, a theory copyrighted by Dr. Samuel Mathey, founding president of AFFEED, allows you to work with the little you have, because it is difficult to secure financing, which often causes [potential] entrepreneurs to give up on their projects.”
The training program, which kicked off on 12 December in the American Corner Room of the second campus of the Alassane Ouattara University, brought together students as well as people with little formal education—who could at least read and write—who proved eager to learn the ZCE method.
To date, AFFEED has trained more than 16,000 youths in Cote d’Ivoire alone. According to the organization, 20% of those trained have so far created their own businesses.
The training session held in Bouaké followed one held earlier in Dabou, a port town in the Ivorian south. Abidjan, the nation’s largest city and business hub, is next.