Creating Jobs through Youth entrepreneurship in Côte d’Ivoire

By Doris Hribernigg, UNIDO Representative, Cote d’Ivoire

Creating Jobs through
Youth entrepreneurship
in Cote d’Ivoire
Editor’s Note:

Doris Hribernigg is the UNIDO Representative in Côte d’Ivoire. For further information, contact the UNIDO office in Côte d’Ivoire: of****************@un***.org

This blog was first published on Making It Magazine and is reproduced with permission.

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One Response

  1. Manuel Mattiat, International Programme Expert at the UNIDO Field Office in COTE D’IVOIRE, sends this update:

    This is a pilot project and we are grateful for any suggestions, ideas and experiences so that we can refine the approach in subsequent phases.

    The market element is essential for these micro-business projects. First of all, the market study for each suggested product is one of the most important selection criteria. A panel of finance and entrepreneurship experts, as well as local residents, assess very carefully what the value-added is of each project idea and if the submitted market studies are reliable. This filter element explains why we had selected 30 projects out of 1,000 candidatures in the first round and the biggest reason for this drop was the lack of a market behind most of the proposals.

    We are working closely with local institutions such as the chamber of commerce or the “chambre des métiers” to help us determine the demand for specific products, and thus the feasibility of the proposals, and our partner microfinance institution makes equally rigid assessments of the demand-side before selection.

    UNIDO conducted a study on the country’s growth sectors – particularly in the area of agro-industries – and their potential in terms of employment creation. This is another strategic basis for us to determine which business projects are most likely going to be feasible. As a result, we have a lot of projects in agro-processing to add value to local products.

    In terms of the plastics recycling, we had a similar experience with a project in Guinea where plastic bags could be turned into pallets which companies bought for industrial use. This could be replicated here. Some partners, such as UNDP, have conducted studies on “green jobs”, and waste management clearly has a big employment creation potential in the whole sub-region.

    With regards to assistance to structure distribution channels, the idea is to capitalize on some of UNIDO’s ongoing private sector development programmes. One, for instance, provides assistance to local SMEs to increase their competitiveness via the creation of export consortia and quality control mechanisms (testing laboratories to certify products etc). The idea is to allow local products to penetrate local, regional and international markets.

    The current business fund projects are very small-scale but if they develop and expand, they should be able to benefit from some of the private sector development schemes that are in place, particularly in a view to maximize distribution.

    We are in discussion with the Government, namely the Ministry of Industry, on incentive schemes. Currently, this concerns the area of technical and professional training (for companies absorbing apprentices or interns) and with regards to the development of specific sectors: if you want to develop growth sectors and create comparative advantage vis-à-vis other competitors, certain sectors could be protected, or incentives (tax, subsidies etc)could be given to local producers.

    In the framework of the business fund, the idea is to bring these entrepreneurs from the informal to the formal sector and under the umbrella of preferential tax schemes. In return, they benefit from public services provided by the chamber of commerce or others and a certain protection so that the investment is worthwhile. But these discussions have to continue and be concretized once we have first tangible results in our pilot project.

    Best regards,
    Manuel Mattiat

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