Niger. Re-launching entrepreneurship in Agadez
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12-10-2021 | di COOPI

Niger. Re-launching entrepreneurship in Agadez

Since June 2021, COOPI - Cooperazione Internazionale has launched the second part of the project "Boosting Entrepreneurship: AGadez for Innovation and Business Creation RE-AGIRE" in Niger, thanks to funds from the European Union through the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS).

In order to relaunch a process of economic and social development and create opportunities for growth within the country, COOPI aims to provide vocational training to young entrepreneurs. Agadez is one of the main transit areas for migratory flows, where the negative effects of climate change on agricultural production, the engine of the regional economy, are most evident.

ReAgire project directly reaches 4,000 young people (girls and boys) through the creation of a Business Incubator Centre, agricultural schools dedicated to agro-ecology and renewable energies and a fund to finance businesses. In this context, COOPI is intervening to bring together the experience and resources of the Centre Incubateur des PME au Niger (CIPMEN), the E4Impact Foundation and the University of Agadez and to offer young entrepreneurs solid training and coaching with the aim of promoting the development of business innovations.

Entrepreneurs are accompanied through a cycle of three main phases: initial entrepreneurial awareness training, intensive project pre-incubation and long-term business incubation. At the current stage of the project, only two phases have been implemented.

The first phase of entrepreneurial awareness training was carried out with an approach based on facilitating learning by providing the necessary materials to the trainees: 611 women and 45 people in vulnerable situations were trained. The pre-incubation phase, launched in June 2021, consists of accompanying 150 entrepreneurs for 4 months through training, coaching and business mentoring to develop their business plan and business model.

For several years, the Agadez region has also experienced major economic and social upheavals linked to instability and conflicts in the neighbouring countries of Niger; as a result, they have caused an increase in migratory flows resulting in a lasting presence of migrants, weakening both social cohesion and the local economy.  As in the rest of the country, young people in Agadez face a high unemployment rate, poor vocational training opportunities, often not adequate to the needs of the market, and a difficult access to financial services to start entrepreneurial activities.

Since 2016, COOPI, together with Swiss Cooperation and UNHCR (ETM), has been working on projects with the overall objective of reducing irregular migration, and the ReAgire project aims to address the training and coaching needs of young entrepreneurs in Agadez in order to promote local development.