EVENTS | Africa-EU YouthLab 2017


The Africa-EU YouthLab: Let’s create the future!

The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development invites 20 young digital change-makers from Africa and the EU to participate in the Africa-EU YouthLab on 27 November 2017 in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Let the digital youth disrupt the 6th EU-Africa Business Forum with their ideas and expectations! They know best what they need to create a promising digital future in Africa and Europe.

The YouthLab is a modern think tank from the youth for the youth.

The 20 digital natives give guidance to business leaders and policy makers of both continents on how to support young innovators in founding and growing digital working and living. Several local Ecosystem Meet-ups took place on the continent this autumn to select the best candidates for the YouthLab. 10 African and 10 European digital innovators and entrpreneus were selected to meet as the YouthLab in Abidjan on 25-27 November. Their mission is to bring together the best ideas from both continents and to jointly develop a set of concrete recommendations to businesses and politics for empowering young digital change-makers in their career. Their recommendations also give valuable input to the planned EU-Africa Start-up Manifesto and the final Declaration of the AU-EU Summit in Abidjan. Youth, let’s create the future!

Understand the challenge:

The YouthLab is looking into a wide range of solutions, innovations and best practices that address one or more of the following areas:

  • Supporting especially young women in leading and growing digital businesses
  • Improving access to digital skills and knowledge through technology
  • Enabling local ecosystems that support founders of digital companies

Meet the YouthLab members:

You can meet the YouthLab members and contribute to their ideas on 27 November at the 6th EU-Africa Business Forum in Abidjan (Palais de la Culture). The YouthLab members look forward to exchange with you. You can recognise them through out the event thanks to the Africa-EU YouthLab-buttons they wear. To business and policy leaders: get advice from experts on how the youth helps reach your economic or political targets. To all young folks, join the discussion and pitch your ideas! Meet the YouthLab participants at the following sessions during the Africa-EU Business Forum:

  • 09:30 – 13:00: YouthLab Stand at the Digital Start-up Fair
  • 11:00 – 12:00: YouthLab Dialogue Session with business and policy leaders from AU/EU
  • 16:00 – 17:00: High-level Roundtable on Digital Economy

The approach:

The concept of the YouthLab is based on a merger between the two German initiatives implemented by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development 1) the Tech Entrepreneurship Initiative Make-IT and 2) the German G20-Presidency initiative #eSkills4Girls.

Listen to the digital youth!

Recommendations developed by the digital youth to businesses and politics

We call on business and policy leaders to support young digital entrepreneurship by actively…

  1. Promote affordable, open and secure access to digital technologies and the internet for all
  2. Encourage African Governments to adopt the African Declaration on Internet Rights and Freedoms, to ensure that the Internet is considered a safe and secure space for Africa’s citizens to engage, and from which they can create and consume content and applications for their social, economic and civic empowerment
  3. Foster the development of local digital solutions in response to global challenges by harnessing the creativity of the youth and ensuring employment
  4. Integrate digital literacy, software education, and coding as a core competency in educational curricula
  5. Create safe online and offline spaces for women to promote and exchange ideas and experiences on digital entrepreneurship and connect with role models from the tech world, as well as dedicated spaces to ensure the promotion of women in the ICT sector
  6. Support young entrepreneurs by ensuring infrastructure, platforms, and investment for the commercialization of their digital innovations as well as the reduction of uncertainty and risks associated with financing innovators through the development of appropriate policies
  7. Support the further development of the digital entrepreneurship ecosystem in Africa through sustainable hubs and innovation labs to ensure youth innovators have access to incubation opportunities
  8. Encourage the development of infrastructures for south-south and north-south mentorship in order to ensure young enterprises can develop sustainable business models and exchange of best practices
  9. Improve public procurement procedures to catalyse industrial development and innovative startups, and the ease of regional trade
  10. Ensure increased mobility in the continent, both of digital goods and services, as well as people, to ensure the diversity of perspectives, skills and experiences that play a key role in fostering innovation and job-creation.


Below, you will find some impressions from the Africa-EU YouthLab in Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire) as well as the Ecosystem Meetups in Nairobi (Kenya), Lagos (Nigeria) and Accra (Ghana). Similar meetups were held in Antananarivo (Madagascar) and Kampala (Uganda).

Photos taken by Elorm Gbekley, Kathleen Ziemann & Kim Mühl

Implementing partner