Youth Empowered for Success (YES!) program to reach 25,000 young Africans across six countries within three years

Today at World Economic Forum on Africa 2015, The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation (TCCAF) has pledged $4.5 million towards a new youth empowerment initiative that will provide life skills training, business skills training and access to employment and mentoring for 25,000 young Africans. The Youth Empowered for Success (YES!) program will empower marginalized youth in six African countries and will leverage technology and strategic partnerships to accelerate and scale the initiative to provide opportunities to many more youth across the continent.

The YES! initiative will be introduced in Kenya, Tunisia and South Africa in phase one before being implemented in Liberia, Nigeria and Uganda through TCCAF and implementing partners Mercy Corps, Microsoft, Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator and Kuza Biashara. The program will address critical development and life skills for 18-35 year old unemployed and underemployed young Africans, and provide access to sustainable economic opportunities created through employment or entrepreneurship. During the first three years TCCAF aims to provide proof of concept for a scalable and replicable model with the ambition to reach 500,000 youth by 2020 by establishing strong partnerships with private sector, NGO, government and civil society organizations.

“Harnessing the incredible energy and ambition of a young and growing population will be critical to Africa’s future economic advancement,” said Nathan Kalumbu, Chairman, The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation. “Over 10-12 million young Africans are entering the workforce each year yet less than half this number of employment opportunities are currently available. The YES! initiative underscores our commitment to identifying a sustainable long-term solution for youth economic empowerment and creating opportunities that will help overcome this employment gap.”

The YES! program will focus on four strategic program pillars. TRAIN will prepare youth for jobs and provide high impact market-driven skills, LINK will connect youth to employment opportunities, THRIVE will focus on supporting youth to succeed in jobs and entrepreneurship and ENABLE will drive collaboration with governments, private sector and civil society to provide an enabling employment to facilitate access to jobs for youth.

In each country, implementing teams will conduct youth-led assessments to identify opportunities and limitations in regional labor markets. Additionally, the YES! program will pioneer an innovative new web and mobile technology platform in each country that will significantly expand access to all YES! services to thousands more youth. Finally, YES! Will create entrepreneurship opportunities to some of the YES beneficiaries through the YES! Hubs, a unique retail and social services center, that will be owned and run by youth, and provide young people with connectivity to technology platforms and access to training, mentors and skills training as well as ongoing support and advice for retail entrepreneurship.

“The Youth Empowered for Success initiative presents an exciting framework to help drive truly transformational change for young people in Africa,” said Nathan Kalumbu. “The potential to connect young people with the right opportunities to build better lives while strengthening their communities is incredibly compelling.”

“Today 40 million African youth are out of work, and young Africans continue to enter the workforce at a faster rate than jobs are created,” said Neal Keny-Guyer, Chief Executive Officer of Mercy Corps. “In partnership with The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation, we are looking forward to helping even more young people in Africa find employment and build long-term financial stability for themselves and for their families.”

‘’Microsoft is proud to be a partner of the YES! initiative through our employment and entrepreneurship platform. This is an exciting program that will not only have a significant impact locally on skills development for the workforce but support technology based start-ups that are developing solutions for local challenges,” said Louis Otieno, Director, Legal & Corporate Affairs, Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative. “Our aim through this partnership is to promote employment opportunities, career guidance and enterprise development for young people.”

About The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation

The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation (TCCAF) is an entity funded through Coca-Cola that implements community development programs throughout Africa. TCCAF has committed resources and is collaborating with partners to provide communities with improved access to safe drinking water and sanitation through the Replenish Africa Initiative (RAIN), to contribute to strengthening Africa’s health systems through Project Last Mile, and to create opportunities for youth empowerment through the Youth Empowered for Success (YES) program.

The Foundation’s community activities focus on three key areas central to life in Africa: water, health and empowerment. By providing assistance in the most critical areas of need, TCCAF strives to improve the quality of life for communities in Africa and expand the opportunities for those who live there. Additionally, The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation is involved in humanitarian assistance in Africa, for disaster relief and emergency assistance.

About Mercy Corps

Mercy Corps, co-creator of the YES! initiative, is a leading global humanitarian organization working on the world’s toughest challenges. With a network of experienced professionals in more than 40 countries, we partner with local communities to bring big ideas and bold action together with local insight to help people survive, overcome hardship and build better lives. Working with 3.5 million young people globally since 2010, Mercy Corps connects vulnerable youth to the right resources they need to recover from crisis and help their communities thrive.

About Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator

Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator (Harambee) connects employers seeking entry-level talent to young, high-potential work-seekers who are currently locked out of the formal economy. Harambee has a proven track record of addressing this demand-supply mismatch by creating a “network” to connect employers and first-time work seekers. Over the past four years, Harambee has placed over 12,000 young people with many of South Africa’s top companies and provided demand-driven work seeker support to over 120,000 young South Africans.

About Kuza Biashara

Kuza Biashara is a Kenyan Innovation targeted at Youth, Women & Small business owners providing them with education, mentorship, networking, business opportunities, tools and best practices to learn, connect and grow. Kuza has created the world’s first micro learning digital platform, Kuza Edge, to empower Youth, Women & Small business owners on the African continent. Kuza has a reach of over 1,000,000 youth & women across 15 African countries via its social media & digital platforms.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential. For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at

Officially launched in 2014 provides Kenyan youth with free resources, training, career guidance services and entrepreneurial opportunities through a network of accessible tools and content on various opportunities in addition to skills and enterprise development resources. Microsoft has additionally launched similar youth employability platforms in South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, Egypt, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Botswana & Ivory Coast in Saharan Africa.

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