In an continent populated by 1.1 billion people, 200 million of its inhabitants are youth.
Of these 200 million youth, 60% are unemployed (according to the World Bank), and within the 40% that are employed, the youth still face issues of under-payment, job insecurity and looking into the informal sector for a solution. These issues create an ongoing rift between the youth and corporate sector across the diaspora.
However, one organization found this as an opportunity in their area to bridge the gap between youth and the corporate sector; particularly young entrepreneurs trying to get their foot in the business industry. Carol Dithologo, Tshepo Mogapi, Lekgotla Lesolle, Lucy Baffoe and Kago Mountain – a group of young students in AIESEC are organizing the Botswana Youth to Business Forum to create a different dialogue between youth and corporate sector, where they can both learn on issues within business from each other in an informal setting.
Although this is the third time the Youth to Business forum occurs, it is the first time its being set on a national scale. Lekgotla believes that this forum is meant to inspire as many young people, young leaders and young entrepreneurs as possible. “Although this is the third of its kind its doesn’t mean that it has to be a local event; we have to make it better than it was before and fulfill was AIESEC is meant to do in that- engaging and developing the young person”.
According to Carol, The focus on an informal setting will have companies and youth engaging in panel discussions that bridge the theory (or business ideas) from youth to the practicability of the corporate sector. Through intimate sessions youth can engage directly with other like-minded people and panelists through question/comment and answer format within table topic discussions.
What is encouraging is the large reception the forum receives from the youth and businesses, with over 200 people registered to attend. The youth are increasingly receptive of this event, with people from as far as Francistown and Orapa attending the it. Although it will be held in Botswana’s capital city Gaborone, there will be live streaming on Twitter and on a channel with a link posted on their Facebook Events Page.
At the end of the forum, the entire team has hopes that it will build a culture of youth and the older corporate sector -engaging more in exchanging resourceful ideas in building a more interactive and informative approach to the current strains in ageism in the business environment.