Driving financial inclusion and job creation in Ethiopia
Visa and STEMpower’s Partnership
In November 2020, Visa announced a partnership with STEMpower, an Ethiopian pioneer in STEM Education and Innovation Acceleration. The partnership seeks to drive financial inclusion and job creation for innovators and aspiring entrepreneurs in Ethiopia.
This three-year program will run from September 2020 to August 2023 and the partnership includes a grant that enables leveraging STEMpower’s existing capabilities in Ethiopia. The program will also educate the country’s innovators and aspiring entrepreneurs by equipping them with the business and management skills and financial education required to establish and run TechSMEs. Furthermore, the partnership between Visa and STEMpower will bring tailored skills to two distinct groups of micro business owners looking to establish and grow their businesses.
Including the Underserved
This partnership also follows Visa’s belief in the importance of bringing underserved individuals globally into the formal financial system - access to formal financial services helps improve the daily lives of these individuals and create opportunities to alleviate poverty. By creating and expanding access, Visa collaborates with leading development organizations such as STEMPower to understand the financial needs of diverse populations and deliver tailored local market solutions that meet those needs.
The partnership between Visa and STEMpower also comes after the National Bank of Ethiopia, in 2017, put in place their Financial Inclusion Strategy with a vision of “achieving universal access to and use of range of affordable and high-quality financial products and services in Ethiopia by 2025”. Limited access to loans , regulatory hurdles for starting and closing a business ,lack of entrepreneurship and business process knowledge and skills at individual levels have been cited as some of the key business and entrepreneurship challenges in the country. Furthermore, the Ethiopian Job Creation Commission is working to bridge the 14 million jobs gap by 2025 and 20 Million jobs gap by 2030.
To this effect, the plan of action for job creation 2020-2025 has been drafted by outlining six strategic objectives. One of the six objectives is building a vibrant private sector in Ethiopia by revamping the current support to Medium, Small, Micro Enterprises (MSMEs), effectively supporting high-potential and high-growth MSMEs and improving the quality of business development services.
One such high-potential and high-growth area in this regard is the creation and development of Tech SMEs, and Visa’s Practical Business Skills & Money Skills will be an integral part of the training module to be developed from January 2021.