JA Africa is expanding its operations into Côte d’Ivoire. JA begins operations in Côte d’Ivoire in June 2019, bringing the organization’s rich 100-year history of impact into the lives of young Ivorians. This landmark takes JA Africa a step closer to realizing the goal of creating one million young entrepreneurs in Africa by the year 2022.
The workplace is changing rapidly in Africa, especially in Côte d’Ivoire, which is one of the fastest growing economies in Africa. The country has a high population growth rate with a high percentage of young people – approximately 60% of its 24 million people are under age 24. A large number of these young people face the prospect of unemployment as job creation fails to keep pace with the growing youth population in the country. This presents an opportunity for JA to make an impact.
JA’s entry into Côte d’Ivoire is informed by the aforementioned data points and is consistent with the maturity of the market and the necessity for Côte d’Ivoire to “enhance the skills of its labor force and the connectivity of its economy” as highlighted by the World Bank.
JA’s programs are aimed at empowering young people to generate and manage wealth, create jobs for themselves and others, as well as apply entrepreneurial thinking in the workplace. JA Côte d’Ivoire plans to be a key player locally, alongside various stakeholders and organizations that are passionate about entrepreneurship and education.
Speaking about the establishment of JA Ivory Coast, the CEO of JA Africa, Elizabeth Bintliff said, “The establishment of JA Ivory Coast has been in the works for over two years and it is good to finally see it happen. We are grateful to all the people who have helped make this possible, especially Mrs. Aissata Sangaré, who drove the process. The need for JA’s programs in Côte d’Ivoire is immense and I am thrilled that we are able to expand our presence in Francophone Africa through this new Member Nation in the JA network.”
JA Côte d’Ivoire will implement JA’s flagship programs that focus on financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship starting with the Company Program®, which teaches entrepreneurship to young high school students, providing them with the knowledge and tools to create enterprises that employ not just themselves but others as well.
Mrs. Aissata Sangaré, JA Côte d’Ivoire’s Executive Director and Muriel Mbow, JA Côte d’Ivoire Board Chair are leading the establishment of JA Côte d’Ivoire.
Mrs. Sangaré said, “We are really excited about the opening of JA Côte d’Ivoire. This is an opportunity to raise awareness about challenges facing Ivorian youth and to propose practical solutions through JA’s methodology and content. Our vision is to work alongside all stakeholders and unlock the potential of the resourceful Ivorian youth to be drivers of economic development for their communities.”
Board Chair, Muriel Mbow added, “The Board is committed to providing the executive team with strategic guidance and support as well as maintain a high standard of governance in line with JA brand worldwide. Abidjan is the starting point, but our ambition is to take the programs beyond Abidjan to the youth, communities and businesses in rural areas so that they can grow and thrive.”
The first year of this program is funded by The Tomorrow Foundation and will start with senior high schools in Abidjan being trained in JA’s flagship Company Program, which teaches entrepreneurship to high school students.