7-8 JUNE 2017 / Tour & Taxis / Brussels

Making it happen through jobs and entrepreneurship

Making it happen through jobs and entrepreneurship

Strengthening private-public partnership for job creation, inclusive and sustainable development

EDD17 - Replay - Making it happen through jobs and entrepreneurship

Thursday, June 8, 2017 - 14:30 to 16:00

Key points

  • Africa should be seen as an opportunity and not a problem.
  • Education and training must be overhauled to address the needs of the 21st century.
  • Small companies and entrepreneurs, especially women and youth, need a favourable business environment in order to thrive.
  • At the international level, partnerships should replace donor-recipient relationships.
  • Members of the diaspora can play major roles both as investors and as educators to help build capacity.


Africa should be viewed as an opportunity instead of a problem. Many questions remain, but anything is possible. That business-friendly message summed up the consensus view among the panellists.

However, everyone recognised the amount of work left to be done. Much of the discussion revolved around practical ideas about how to get from here to there. They included:

  • Adapting to emerging technologies;
  • Education and training for the 21st century;
  • Creating a favourable business environment, especially for SMEs and entrepreneurs;
  • Focusing on women and youth;
  • Recognising the importance of value chains; and
  • T he role of the diaspora.

Many observers believe that Africa is primed to become the world’s next manufacturing powerhouse. But it will not be outmoded, low-tech manufacturing. It will be cutting edge high-tech production that will require higher skills on the shop floor. Another example would be auto mechanics who must wipe the grease off their hands and get up to speed with high-tech diagnostics.

Industrialisation can create jobs, but education and training schemes will need to keep pace. Traditional schooling, including university degrees, may lose prominence to lifetime, on-the-job learning. Knowing ‘how to do something’ will become less important than knowing ‘how to learn’ new skills. Sectors such as agriculture, health, and logistics will need specially trained employees. Young people can more easily develop the flexibility needed to fulfil the needs of this new-fangled labour market.

Africa must improve its competitiveness if it wants to stop importing and produce for domestic markets – let alone international ones. Digital and logistical linkages must be made between people and markets. Otherwise Côte d’Ivoire will keep importing beans from Holland instead of from neighbouring Niger.

Development cannot happen without business, and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) make up the lion’s share of the private sector. Entrepreneurs stand ready to start new firms. Both groups need support in areas such as financing and tax reform. Women and young entrepreneurs depend on policy coherence more than anyone. Women deserve special attention. For example, they often face legal barriers to obtaining financing or opening bank accounts.

Africa needs to diversify along entire value chains in various sectors. For example, agriculture is not just about farmers. It is also about chemicals, processing, transportation and sundry other activities. If there are half a-million mobile phones but scanty mobile services, huge opportunities loom on that horizon.

Africa needs more partnerships and fewer donor-recipient relationships. Members of the diaspora can play major roles both as investors and as educators to help build capacity.


French business delegations bring educators along on missions to Africa to facilitate cross-border partnerships in education and training. International internships for students can help in this regard as well.

Organised by

    Cheikh Ibrahima Diong
    Africa Consulting and Trading
    Alieu Jallow
    EDD Young Leader, Gambia
    Hiroshi Kuniyoshi
    Managing Director & Deputy to the Director General of UNIDO
    United Nations Industrial Development Organization
    Florence Poivey
    President of the Committee on Education and Training and Integration and member of the Executive Committee of the MEDEF
    Mouvement des entreprises de France
    Vimal Shah
    BIDCO Africa
    Didier Acouetey
Photo gallery

Password for download : EDD2017