The Mastercard Foundation has announced its Young Africa Works strategy in Uganda, setting a goal to allow over three million youth access to dignified and fulfilling work opportunities by 2030. Under Young Africa Works, the Foundation has committed $200 million to ensure young persons, including refugees in Uganda, have access to economic opportunities.
Presiding over the virtual launch of the strategy, President Yoweri Museveni noted just how seamlessly Young Africa Works’ aligned to the government’s national development plan. His key-note address was streamed live from State House.
“I commend Mastercard Foundation for your efforts towards youth empowerment and transformation in Africa over the last decade. I am glad to note that your focus uplifts young people by expanding their employment opportunities. The Young Africa Works strategy is in line with the work our government is doing to achieve the goal of a healthy, educated, and prosperous population.”
Young Africa Works focuses on three economic sectors: agriculture, tourism and hospitality, and construction and housing. Mastercard will work with a range of partners to realise this ambitious goal. Current partners include Private Sector Foundation Uganda, The Innovation Village, Gudie Leisure Farm, GOAL Uganda, the National Social Security Fund, and Equity Bank Uganda.
Speaking at the launch, Mastercard Foundation President and CEO Reeta Roy noted that the implementation of Young Africa Works is already underway and discussed the importance of collaboration among all stakeholders involved. “We have formed partnerships with several organisations, and together, if we are successful, they already represent 30 per cent of the goal of having 30 million people in dignified and fulfilling work,” she said. “What’s special is how our partners have come together to intentionally collaborate and leverage each other’s strengths.”
“We have formed partnerships with a number of organisations and together, if we are successful, they already represent 30 per cent of the goal of having 30 million people in dignified and fulfilling work.”
The speakers recognised the impact of COVID-19 on various economic sectors in Uganda. In April, Mastercard Foundation announced the Mastercard Foundation COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program in Uganda to mitigate the adverse effects of the pandemic on businesses, the education sector, and communities all the while strengthening the country’s public health system and response. To date, the Foundation has committed approximately $23.7 million to its COVID-19 response in Uganda.
The Mastercard Foundation has been working in Uganda since 2008. So far, they have invested over $282 million in expanding access to finance, education, and/or skills training to more than two million people, including farmers, students, teachers, and out-of-school youth across the country. “In many ways, the Foundation’s relationship with Uganda is special. Uganda was the Foundation’s first partner country in Africa,” said Samuel Adela Yalew, Country Head, Mastercard Foundation. He noted Young Africa Works would be building on a decade of work and achievements.
Janet Museveni, Minister for Education and Sports also reflected on this long-standing partnership. “I believe we can now say that the Mastercard Foundation is a faithful friend of Uganda. In the last decade alone, they have provided quality education opportunities to over 6,000 youth in the country,” she observed. Uganda is home to the second largest population of young people in the world. 82 per cent of her population falls under 35.
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