The President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Mastercard Foundation, Ms Reeta Roy has reiterated the foundations commitment to invest in talent development of the youth as part of its global strategy to reduce unemployment.
She said Ghana remained an attractive country and it would, therefore, continue to explore opportunities in line with its strategy.
In an interview after the launch of the global youth unemployment strategy dubbed ‘Young African Works’ in Kigali on March 22, Ms Roy said “Ghana is a very attractive country for us in terms of thinking about Young African Works and we would be exploring opportunities there.”
She said the foundation was already active in Ghana and had already invested over US$255 million on several initiatives and the new strategy would ,therefore, give an opportunity to scale up its work there.
“With regards to Ghana, we are already active and working there. Ghana represents a country where the foundation has a high concentration of investment. We have invested well over US$255million already,” she said.
Ms Roy said there were a lot of synergies to be harnessed in the various African countries to help achieve its target of providing jobs for 30 million youth by 2030.
The foundation, she said, would understand the specific jobs and skills requirement for each country in areas where young people can participate not for only employment but also to provide opportunities for other young people.
There would be a concentration of investments in this area. We are going to really understand the companies and what their needs are and we are going to make sure that there is a connection between the supply and the demand for talents in the market place,” she said.
She said a very important component of the strategy was to create the platforms to connect young people who are looking for work and companies looking for talent to develop.
“We will train them to acquire skills that employers want. The most important thing we would like to see in a few years’ time is young people acquiring skills, and developing their ideas. We also want to hear from employers that they are seeing talents that are developing and adding value in the job market,” she said.
The focus of the Mastercard Foundation was to firstly deepen financial inclusion and secondly to go deeper and expand access to education.
After a decade of deepening financial inclusion in Africa and making an impact in several countries, the foundation has decided to focus on addressing the biggest challenge confronting the youth in Africa, which is unemployment.
It has there come together to fight this biggest challenge that everyone wants to solve by bringing together knowledge, expertise and networks.
Responding to concerns as to what happens to its financial inclusion agenda, the CEO explained that it was a more integrated process and not that it had abandoned that agenda.
“It is not like we have abandoned that area of our programme, but we have decided to look at a holistic way and where countries are and where they are heading based on their economic plans and then bring to together aspects to help achieve this,” she said. — GB