Building a network of entrepreneurs and an innovative community of change-makers in alignment with employment strategies set by the Ghanaian government.
Our Goal: Enable three million young people to secure work by 2030.
Context: The current rates of under- and unemployment in Ghana are 42 percent and 12 percent respectively.
Our Approach: With a focus on young entrepreneurial women, provide future business leaders with access to business development skills, financing, and marketplaces. Also, identify growing sectors of the economy and strengthen education in these areas, placing priority on digital training and technology-focused employment.
Priority sectors: Focus on areas that offer strong potential for creating work for young people, as well as informal settings to support women’s entrepreneurship. These sectors and settings include agriculture, tourism, and hospitality—each underpinned by digital technology.
“Society has created systems that hold people living with disabilities back from truly participating and thriving. It is not their disability that confines them, but the way that we’ve structured how we live.” – Nura Yunus, Associate Program Manager Youth Engagement at Mastercard Foundation.
Farida Bedwei is a Ghanaian software engineer and co-founder of Logiciel, a fin-tech company. Eyram Tawia is CEO and co-founder of Leti Arts, an interactive media studio which is focused on developing gaming in Africa. Together, Farida and Eyram created, Karmzah, a comic book superheroine whose disability is her superpower.
Benjamin Obeng’s post-graduation business didn’t look like he imagined it would. The Mastercard Foundation Scholar from Ghana had planned to launch 3Dinkra, a 3D printing business, in Accra, in May 2020, after graduating from Arizona State University. But when his home country desperately needed personal protective equipment in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Obeng shifted his business to help fight the spread of the virus.
Though he was always fascinated by vehicles on the ground and in the air, Mastercard Foundation Scholar Lloyd Teta was disappointed to learn that the automobile and aerospace industries are the largest greenhouse gas emitters in the world. “I wanted to do more than create engineering solutions. I wanted to become an advocate for the Sustainable Development Goal 13 and combat climate change and its impact,” he says.
It’s easy to see why Mastercard Foundation Scholar Komlan Kekeli Batchy, who grew up in a family of farmers, has an eye toward agribusiness as an accessible, scalable way for communities like his to grow economically. He recently graduated from Costa Rica’s EARTH University, an agriculture-focused institution, where he compared household incomes of cocoa farming families in both Ghana and Togo. He found family income differences on the same crop were in response to price fluctuations, which could potentially be mitigated.
Kenaf is a fibrous, tropical plant grown and harvested in Ghana to make products such as paper, ropes, and cloth bags. Processing kenaf uses a time-consuming step called retting, in which the leaves are placed in water until they break down. Mastercard Foundation Scholar Diing Diing William Chol thinks there can be a way to increase crop yields for local farmers by speeding up the retting process. He focused his biochemistry studies at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) on identifying the enzymes and bacteria responsible for the retting process.
“The ability to adapt to changing environments and to challenge oneself to continue pushing hard regardless of the odds are two of the key skills I developed during my four years at KNUST.”—Diing Diing William Chol