Togo’s economy depends mainly on agriculture, phosphate mining and trade. According to a 2011 survey, the unemployment rate was 6.5% for the population as a whole and higher at 8.1% for young people from 18 to 35 years old.
The Youth Economic Initiative Support Fund (FAEIJ) is a government program that was started in 2012 to promote entrepreneurship among young people, as a way to tackle youth unemployment. It under the supervision of the Ministry of Grassroots Development, Crafts, Youth and Youth Employment.
Implementation of programme/ initiative
FAIEJ follows these phases for effective implementation: (1) Project selection; (2) Finance access and (3) training and monitoring for the implementation of project. FAEJI targets craftsmen, graduates and entrepreneurs aged 18 to 35 years for funding and training. Selected applicants receive between USD 500 to USD 12,000 to set up businesses, with a repayment period of between 12 to 36 months.
With a total budget of USD 3,409,794, the program has a national coverage and is jointly financed by the government of Togolese, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and the African Development Bank (ADB).
One challenge identified is that the training provided is not adequate to allow participants to effectively set up and run businesses. To tackle this problem, the institution has outsourced the training component to private firms. Another challenge is that projects submitted for funding are not of good quality.
It was noted that access to markets remains a challenge. To address the issue, the Ministry in charge of Development, Crafts, Youth and Youth Employment set up the Togo Purchasing Center for Young Entrepreneurs (CAJENT), to assist the youth get market to their products by enhancing the packaging of products to comply to the export standards. This structure only hosts ‘Made in Togo’ products.
The results achieved by FAEIJ since its inception have been encouraging. In total, 6,000 young entrepreneurs have been trained in business creation and 1,251 young entrepreneurs have benefited from capacity building in managerial skills. 3,600 jobs were created by youth through loans from the FAIEJ.
To date, of the total submitted 2, 380 business plans, 400 have been funded for a total amount of USD 1,551,275.
Further, 63 companies have been created by the young people which have created 830 direct jobs.
One hundred projects are financed for an estimated amount of USD 110,000,under a financial branch of FAEIJ program named ”Young Entrepreneurs Credit ” at an interest rate of 4.5% interest rate.
This program can be sustained over the long term through the following actions:
· diversify funding sources for this program by focusing on internal sources to minimize the impact of external shocks on the achievement of targets;
· strengthening the follow-up of young people in the execution of their business plan in order to identify the difficulties they face;
· expanding the training in order to allow other young people to have the same opportunities;
· carrying out process and impact evaluations to improve the program.
A large part of the success of this program lies in young recipients’ ability to interact directly with p program managers to have questions answered. The creation of a Best Entrepreneur Award serves as a tool to encourage beneficiaries to strive for excellence in their business.
Date: November 20, 2017