Who We Are
Junior Achievement Africa is one of Africa’s largest organizations working on youth economic empowerment. JA Africa is a member of JA Worldwide, one of the world’s largest youth serving NGOs. JA’s mission is to prepare youth for the future of jobs. Through the delivery of hands-on, blended learning in financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship, we empower young people to grow their entrepreneurial ideas, hone their work skills, manage their earnings and secure better lives for themselves, their families, and their communities.
JA Africa has a presence in 16 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and collectively we reach more than 390,000 youth each year. JA Africa Works in Burkina-Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, DR Congo, Eswatini, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. We work in partnership with local ministries of education in each country to deliver our programs in schools, working in more than 3,000 schools each year.
Volunteerism is central to JA’s program delivery. We recruit, train and deploy professionals from all works of life who go into classrooms and work in partnership with teachers to strengthen the learning outcomes for children.
Junior Achievement was founded in the United States in 1919, and expanded into Africa in the 1970s. Today, JA’s programs are delivered to youth around the world. Since its inception, JA has impacted more than 125 million young people around the world and has broadened its program scope to include in-school, after-school and out-of-school programs and activities.
With more than 100 member countries, the JA Worldwide network is powered by over 470,000 volunteers and mentors, who serve more than 10 million young people around the world each year.
Sixty percent of the population of sub-Saharan Africa and about 37% of its workforce are youth under age 25. By 2025, two-thirds of Africa’s population will be under 25 years of age and Africa will be home to 25% of the world’s youth population.
Every year approximately 7 to 10 million young people in the region enter into a weak labor market, where high unemployment, low productivity, and poverty-level income are commonplace. Across Africa, as the economies fail to create enough jobs for the over 10 million young people entering the workforce each year, enterprise development remains the best pathway to creating employment and ensuring sustainable livelihoods, yet few governments have mainstreamed entrepreneurship education into the curriculum.
JA Africa believes that mainstreaming entrepreneurship education holds a key to job creation not just through self-employment, but as small enterprise employs others. JA Africa has a goal to educate one million people in entrepreneurship education over five years. Our theory of change is that if each of these young people establishes an enterprise that creates at least five new jobs, we can move the needle on youth unemployment across the continent. Beyond the unemployment gap, there persists a skills gap. For the jobs that do exist in the economy, employers are unable to find skilled workers. Preparing young people for the world of work means skills-focused and market-relevant education.
This is why JA believes in experiential education. We know that young people learn better by doing than by hearing. Finally, we believe that financial literacy ties together these two priorities. We need our young people to understand money; both personal finance and business finance in order to thrive in the 21st century. That why JA focuses on these three areas: entrepreneurship education, financial literacy and workforce readiness.
In less than 20 years, Africa will have the world’s largest workforce. Young children in school today will constitute the majority of the labor and still that power businesses at local and global levels. How we prepare them for that future will determine the productivity and growth of entire industries and economies. That’s why JA Africa’s work is important.
What We Do
JA Africa provides young people with the tools and skills they need to be prepared for their professional futures either as entrepreneurs who create jobs for themselves and others or as employees who add value to their employers. JA’s primary strengths are in curriculum development and delivery. We work in over 3,000 schools across Africa, with the endorsement of the Ministries of Education. We raise funding for our programs through private and corporate donations, then train volunteers in our curricula and work with them to deliver this content to students in schools, working closely with classroom teachers.
Our programs bridge the gap between what children are learning in schools and what they need to know to be successful adults in the workplace. These programs prioritize entrepreneurship education, workforce readiness and financial literacy.