…as it develops African-based entrepreneurial competence framework
The OR Tambo Research Chair Initiative (ORTARChI) at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) has been launched successfully, with a mandate to find empirical evidence that establishes the fact high growth technology-driven entrepreneurial businesses can lead to youth employability.
It aims to use applied research, captivating engagement initiatives and innovative educational programmes to understand and appreciate the role of technology entrepreneurship in accelerating youth employability in sub-Saharan Africa.
Governments across the African continent over the years have been struggling to find an antidote for the increasing level of youth unemployment that is now becoming a security concern matter.
In a bid to find a lasting solution to this security menace, ‘chairs’ under the ORTARChI are embarking on research initiatives which will come out with scientific evidence to help create sustainable jobs for the youth.
With this initiative, KNUST School of Business (KSB) will for the next five years conduct relevant research and support high-end skills development under thematic areas in the Humanities and social sciences, focusing attention on technology, entrepreneurship and youth employability.
In view of this, 10 students have been given scholarships by the South African government to embark on their PhDs to prove with empirical evidence that high intensity of technology, driven by high growth entrepreneurial businesses owned and managed by young people, could lead to a reduction in unemployment.
“We want to create an African context-specific entrepreneurial competence framework that any African policymaker can pick to begin educating African children about the skill-sets they need to become successful entrepreneurs, and subsequently be able to create jobs. We want to target down to even the primary school level, so that before they come to university they have a clear mind about their career path. We will do our best to make Africa proud.
“The focus will be to lead a continent-wide conversation on how to use transformative research and educational engagement initiatives to harness the potential of African youth to create new jobs and drive the conversations on youth employability in Africa,” said the Dean of KSB, Prof. Nathaniel Boso.
Speaking at his inauguration as the ORTARChI Chair to KNUST, Prof. Boso explained that the projects have been classified under three areas: namely ‘Agribusiness Technology Entrepreneurship; Financial Inclusion Technology entrepreneurship; and Healthcare Technology entrepreneurship.
“One issue that as far as this chair is concerned has not been explored very well is the notion of entrepreneurship. Not just as has been defined across Africa – table-top business – but high growth technology training entrepreneurial initiatives and activities.
“That is the hypothesis for which this chair wants to find empirical evidence, to establish for academics around the world, to practitioners and policymakers, that when they allow African society to be driven by entrepreneurship, we can be on the way to creating new jobs – that is, sustainable jobs, jobs that pay well; and if this happens, our argument is that unemployment will certainly come down,” he said.
Director, Strategic Partnership, National Research Foundation of South Africa, Dorothy Ngila, on her part charged the ‘chair’ to use their position to support development in their countries; especially in terms of education and youth employability.
“We would like these chairs to support development trajectories, especially in the countries they are located in. ORTARChI is critical in its contribution to higher education, training the next generation of scientists and academics, and producing cutting-edge research and innovation that supports knowledge, society and the economy of Ghana and Africa as a whole,” she said.