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Photo: Kolin Mendez

Creating Jobs for African Youth One Step at a Time

An Evening with JA Africa brought solutions to youth unemployment to the front and set the continent on a course for rapid growth

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"There's no better time to be an African than right now."

That was the message from Frank Aswani—the keynote speaker at the fundraiser "An Evening with JA Africa" on September 21st. The party, a partnership between Junior Achievement Africa, Facebook and OkayAfrica, was held at Facebook's New York offices and left attendees reflecting on the the importance of youth economic empowerment in Africa.

Aswani, the Special Advisor for Strategic Initiatives at Higherlife Foundation challenged the audience to think about the work they can do to reduce the job deficit.

"Whether our young generation make it or not is up to us," he said. "Africa is going to have the biggest workforce in 6000 days. Do you believe we will have the right quality of people in 6000 days? Are we making the right investments? Are schools teaching kids the right stuff? Do young Africans have a sense of what the world expects of them? We have a very time-sensitive window to get this right or Africa will be a place we can't live. We have to get it right. We have no excuse to wait further."

Photo: Kolin Mendez

Other speakers echoed Aswani's sense of urgency. Ebele Okobi, Facebook's Director of Public Policy emphasized the importance of the work JA Africa does on the continent, giving youth the tools they need to rescue themselves.

Amini Kajunju, the Executive Director of International University of Grand Bassam Foundation and also a Board Member of JA Africa decried staggering statistics on youth unemployment on the continent and praised the impact that JA Africa is having on youth in Africa.

Elizabeth Bintliff, the CEO of Junior Achievement Africa remarked that "We're asking young people to create jobs for themselves but giving them no foundation on how to do so. If we're going to change the trajectory of the continent we're going to have to make an investment in youth."

Photo: Kolin Mendez

The issue is indeed urgent. Africa graduates 12 million young people from its secondary and tertiary schools each year, but its economies create only 3 million jobs, leaving a deficit of about 9 million new jobs in Africa each year. The vast majority of African youth must create their own employment, or wait the average six years it takes to find their first job. That's why JA begins teaching entrepreneurship as early as high school. The thousands of young people that have completed JA Africa's training make up a vast network of alumni—an incredible resource for each other and an example of the impact that JA Africa has made.

"JA taught me how to be confident about speaking in public," Emmanuel Nyame, JA Ghana Alumnus told the crowd. "JA has maintained consistency in empowering youth. It's refreshing to know there's an organization ready to help you grow at every stage of your life."

Aswani added that the work JA is doing to deliberately develop and invest in leaders is how Africa will be able to hit the daunting mark of creating a million jobs a month for the next 10 years.

Photo: Kolin Mendez

To learn more about how JA Africa is empowering African youth go to www.ja-africa.org.

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BUDX Lagos is Bringing Together Some of Nigeria's Biggest Culture Creators

For three days in June, Lagos will be home to a global celebration of creativity. And it's free.

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At the heart of all cultural movements are the people that drive it. That's the philosophy behind BUDX, a globe-traveling celebration of creativity from electronic music magazine Mixmag and Budweiser beer. The goal of BUDX is to unite and spotlight outstanding creative minds by focusing on exciting local scenes from around the world. From Tokyo to Lagos to Ho Chi Minh City, BUDX presents the absolute best that these cities have to offer across cultural hot points including music, art, technology, fashion and film. Innovative and carefully curated talks, masterclasses, installations, visual arts and performances, give creative leaders their time to shine.

The latest edition of BUDX, is happening in Lagos from June 26th to 28th. That's three full days and nights of music panels, workshops and parties featuring many of Nigeria's biggest stars alongside global speakers and artists.

The speaker's list is stacked with OkayAfrica favorites. Day one sees Trinidadian DJ and former Major Lazer affiliate Jillionaire who will talk about how music is bridging the gap between Africa and the Caribbean—one of our favorite topics. Then DJ Obi will talk about how he fought sleep deprivation, hallucinations, hunger and fatigue while breaking the record during a DJ set that lasted 10 days. Later Jillionaire will cap off a night of performances featuring Ycee, Rema, DJ Obi and Smallz the DJ.

Day 2 brings style icons Tokyo James, Orange Culture and Ladipoe together to talk about the evolution of Nigerian fashion into the globally influential scene it is today. Following that, Teni the Entertainer, OkayAfrica's "breakout star of 2018" will lead a panel on how Nigerian women are leading the next wave of Nigerian culture. Then the discussion will turn to Nigeria's biggest cultural export—film—with the multitalented Kemi Adetiba and legendary filmmaker Sesan Ogunro alongside pop-music icon Banky W. The panels will be followed by performances from Distruction Boyz, Teni the Entertainer, DJ Nana and special guests TBA.

The next day Zlatan, the man behind the Zanku dance sensation, will talk about Nigerian dances going viral with Westsyde Lifestyle NG. Then DJ Lambo and DJ Nana will discuss how female DJs are guiding Nigeria's club scene while Mayorkun and Ycee will talk about how Nigerian artists are infiltrating the global mainstream. That night expect performances from some of Nigeria's most exciting singers right now—Runtown, Mayorkun and Zlatan with DJ Crowd Kontroller and DJ Consequence.

So, come to BUDX Lagos for a three day program meant to amplify the voices and stories of rising artists, to seize new, energizing opportunities and encourage all culture creators to rise up and Be a King.

Entry to this exclusive series of events is free but you need to RSVP via www.budxlagos.splashthat.com.

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Opening Doors: Jubilee Clothe is Bringing Nigerian Style to Los Angeles | Presented by Uber

For Jubilee Gamaniel, being an Uber driver-partner is what allows her to pursue her entreperneurial dreams.

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The filmmaker, model and designer has her finger in many different pursuits related to bringing more beauty to the world and with her burgeoning fashion business, she hopes to spread her vision from her home to the rest of the globe.

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(Photo Courtesy of DIARRABLU)

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(Photo by Emma McIntyre/BAFTA LA/Getty Images for BAFTA LA)

Daniel Kaluuya Is Producing a Live-Action 'Barney' Movie with Mattel

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In a move that absolutely no one saw coming, Oscar-nominated actor Daniel Kaluuya is set to produce a live-action Barney movie in conjunction with Mattel Films. The Hollywood Reporter first broke the story.

Kaluuya will co-produce the film as part of his 59% production banner, which signed a first-look deal with Paramount back in May. Speaking on his involvement with the project and the impact of Barney & Friends, Kaluuya had this to say: "Barney was a ubiquitous figure in many of our childhoods, then he disappeared into the shadows, left misunderstood. We're excited to explore this compelling modern-day hero and see if his message of 'I love you, you love me' can stand the test of time."

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