AN entrepreneurship program run by TechnoServe and Citi Foundation is set to benefit 1,600 young micro-retailers to acquire the skills and connections they need to grow their businesses in its sixth phase.
Over the next 12 months, the program dubbed Pan-African Youth Entrepreneur Development (PAYED) will support the growth of micro-retailers in Tanzania, Kenya, Nigeria, and Côte d’Ivoire.
Among other things PAYED 6 will support micro-retailers with training in business, financial management, marketing, inventory management, and customer service skills.
The programme will also provide digital training to all beneficiaries, building upon the digital tools that have been tried and tested in the previous phases and further enhancing their effectiveness.
Citi Tanzania Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Geofrey Mchangila said micro enterprises continue to be the backbone of African economies, with micro-retailers playing an increasingly important role in ensuring community access to critical goods such as food, medicine, and hygiene products.
While launching the program in Dar es Salaam yesterday, he said the initiative aTligned with Citi’s values of creating sustainability and enabling economic progress.
“Citi staff in Tanzania will continue to volunteer in the program by providing training on business skills,” he noted.
The program will recruit micro-retailers from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Nairobi, Kenya, Port Harcourt, Nigeria and Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.
PAYE 6 targets several sectors within micro-retail, including fast-moving consumer goods, cosmetics, clothes, and phone shops. Half the participants will be women, and five per cent of program participants will be persons with disabilities, aimed to create a more inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem.
David Livingstone, Citi’s Europe Middle East and Africa Head commended the partnership that will create a platform where micro retailers will have a peer-to-peer learning environment, capacity building, mentorship, and access to information sessions on trends in the sector.
Although Covid-19 and other economic downturns have affected many micro businesses globally, particularly in Africa, Alice Waweru, PAYED Regional Program Manager, stated at the event that the youth businesses in the PAYED program demonstrated strong resilience and a remarkable surge of innovation, allowing them to continue growing and creating new employment opportunities.
‘’We are grateful to Citi and the Citi Foundation for yet another phase of the program that will allow us to bring this support to an increased number of youth entrepreneurs,” she said.
PAYED Program Manager and Country Director TechnoServe Tanzania, Tunsime Kyando said through the program, they are working with the government, financial institutions, suppliers, and digital service providers to position youth entrepreneurs and the micro-retail sector in Tanzania as visible and more strategic for a sustainable economy and the creation of more decent job opportunities.
“We appreciate the partnership with Citi foundation and look for more opportunities for decent job creation among youth through the micro-retail sector in Tanzania,” she said.