Currently, Africa is home to the poorest people in the world. Despite several intervention programmes by global aid agencies such as the United States Agency for International Development(USAID) , Department for International Development (DFID) and the World Bank, the menace of poverty rages on. According to the latest World Bank estimates, the share of Africans who are poor fell from 56% in 1990 to 43% in 2012. A report by the Brookings Institute forecast that by 2030, 377 million Africans will be living in poverty, this figure will constitute 87 percent of the world’s poor people.
The question then arises: “why is the continent still home to large numbers of poor people considering the continued flow of poverty targeted aid from the international community?” The earnest answer is that global intervention approach to ending poverty in Africa which often entails the distribution of food, healthcare and other relief materials across vulnerable African communities lacks sustainability. It is an instance of perpetual dependence on the well-meaning donors which limits the beneficiaries from attaining self-sustenance.
The global community needs to reconsider her aid schemes. Interestingly, the process of redesigning aid support to Africa is in process as some foreign agencies have identified investment in youth entrepreneurship as a complementary scheme in their aid efforts. For instance, the International Federation for the Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC) signed an agreement with the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) in 2018 to support 200 entrepreneurs in the Niger Delta and NorthEast Regions of NIgeria. This has widened the reach of the entrepreneurship programme initiated by the TEF which has trained and given seed capital to many entrepreneurs in Africa.
In the same vein, the United Nations Development Programme has also signed an agreement with the Tony Elumelu Foundation(TEF) to support 100,000 entrepreneurs in the Sahel region of Africa over a period of ten years. This joint programme is geared to engage the young population in Africa starting with the Sahel region which is home to 1944 million young people .
As Tony Elumelu says, “global aid agencies are preventing further prevalence of poverty by building enterprises in communities”. The enterprise structures will create employment in communities at risk of poverty which (which is a proponent for social crisis): “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”.