Friends, funders, Members of the Board and other well-wishers came together at the Azalai Hotel in Abidjan, Ivory Coast on 20 November 2019 to participate in the launch of Junior Achievement Cote d’Ivoire.
The event, which signaled the beginning of JA’s programs in the country, featured speeches and words of support from a number of dignitaries including the Ivorian Minister for Youth Promotion and Youth Employment, Mamadou Touré, who said he had come to bring “Government support for this action” which is in line with the vision of the Head of the State to empower young people through entrepreneurship. That support was also reflected in the form of funding from the office of the First Lady of Ivory Coast, Dominique Ouattara, who was represented at the event by her Chief of Staff.
Some 12 million young people enter the African job market each year to compete for the 3 million jobs being created. Junior Achievement helps them by giving them options to secure their economic success. JA enables them to understand the world of work and decide what they want to do in future.
Through programs, JA offers young students the opportunity to gain professional insight into a workplace by spending the day with professionals in their area of interest or through entrepreneurship programs. Programs are implemented in schools and allow students to run a business, from capitalization to liquidation, and also introduces children from the age of five to the basic concepts of money and finance.
The Executive Director for JA Côte d’Ivoire, Mrs. Aïssata Sangaré, introduced JA’s work to the guests and spoke about her ambitions and vision for the organization, as well as soliciting support from the public. She outlined the need for JA’s work in the country, sharing information about the growing youth unemployment statistics and the opportunities for job creation through entrepreneurship. The Board Chair, Muriel Mbow, affirmed the need for this support.
Also present at the event was the CEO of JA Africa, Elizabeth Elango Bintliff as well as the Founder and CEO of the Tomorrow Foundation, Maggie Gu, whose Foundation is a founding funder of JA Cote d’Ivoire. Ms. Gu talked about why her foundation is investing in JA, and highlighted the importance of investing in youth as leaders of businesses and enterprises in the future.
A representative of the US Embassy, which is also a funder of the new organization, echoed the words of Ms. Gu and said supporting JA Cote d’Ivoire is in line with the US Government’s interests to see economic growth in the country and youth agency in that process.
The event concluded with cocktails.