5th Young Entrepreneurs Summit, Expo awards launched

5th Young Entrepreneurs Summit, Expo awards launched

The Young Entrepreneurs Summit /Expo and Awards 2021 scheduled for December 16-18 was duly launched in Accra last week with a focus on amplifying the voice of young people.

This is the fifth edition since it was commenced in 2016 and has been held annually ever since.  This year’s theme is focused on amplifying the voices of youth and women and is being organized by the Ghana Startup Network and ITC/YECommunity. Nominations are therefore open for prospective participants to

The launch was held following a three-day dialogue on the AfCFTA Protocol on Youth and Women which sought to solicit inputs from young and women entrepreneurs in the SME space seeking to take advantage of the continental free trade area.

The Executive Secretary of the Pan African SMEs network, Solomon Adjei organizers of the three-day dialogue in partnership with the Ghana Startup Network stated that many people do not know or even understand the AfCFTA protocols, hence the dialogue with officers of the AfCFTA Secretariat to come and brief SMEs on the protocols on trade and services, as well as, the protocol on women and youth.

Mr. Adjei said the dialogue forms a series of engagements with youth and women to solicit their inputs which would be factored in the drafting of the AfCFTA Protocol on women and youth.

The Deputy Secretary of the Pan African Youth Union, Ahmed Benning, who is participating in drafting the protocol called for the necessary policy frameworks and infrastructure for an industrial strategy if local businesses are to take full advantage of AfCFTA since majority of our people are consumers and if AfCFTA cannot meet their consumer needs, that void will be filled by markets like China, EU and the Americas.

He believes AfCFTA is the best opportunity to lift millions of families out of poverty, businesses to expand and grow into multimillion industries to build resilient societies and sustainable and resilient economies.

Mr. Benning noted that majority of businesses are in the informal sector with many more as SMEs since most rely on raw materials from the developed world to conduct their businesses and does not believe that is the best way to take advantage of AfCFTA.

He says only robust and deliberate policies will help local businesses take advantage of AfCFTA the way the free trade area was designed to specifically benefit Africans.

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