The African Development Bank Group (www.AfDB.org) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) on Thursday announced the setting up of a joint taskforce to foster entrepreneurship to catalyse jobs creation and growth in Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia.
The official launch of the taskforce took place on Thursday, 21 September 2023 during a workshop in Tunis, at the North Africa Regional Office of the African Development Bank.
The Joint North Africa Task Force on Entrepreneurship and MSMEs for jobs impact will operate under the Framework Partnership Agreement signed by the EBRD and the AfDB in May 2021. The taskforce will ensure that the two institutions will jointly identify and implement innovative and operational initiatives to tackle the challenges faced by micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) development.
Initiatives include developing knowledge products and innovative solutions to inform and co-finance operations that promote the export capacity and growth potential of MSMEs. This work will focus on supporting the emergence of start-ups, businesses led by women and youth, or operations linking the development of MSMEs and start-ups to regional and local value chains.
During this first joint activity, the task force announced support to a special cohort from the Souk At-Tanmia initiative under the EBRD Star Venture Programme . This programme aims at identifying high-potential start-ups and mobilise global expertise to support their operations and assist them in scaling up. Souk At-Tanmia was an African Development Bank Group programme which ran from 2012 to 2021, offering substantial direct technical and financial support to 272 local entrepreneurs.
On this occasion, seven shortlisted companies from the Souk at-Tanmia Tunisia laureates presented their business idea during a pitching session. Five finalists will be selected and will qualify for EBRD support, including access to mentorship, technical advisory, and strategic business development from mentors and experts with strong and recognised experience in the entrepreneurship field. This assistance will last over an 18-month a period and allow start-ups to further develop their activities and access international markets.
The setting up of the taskforce and the organisation of the pitching were facilitated by the AfDB EInA (Entrepreneurship Innovations and Advice-North Africa) (www.EInA4Jobs.org) Initiative and the EBRD’ SME Finance and Development Group SEMED (Southern and Eastern Mediterranean region).