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With more than two in five young South Africans out of work, Nelson Mandela University’s School of Economics is presenting a free webinar on youth entrepreneurship on Wednesday, February 24.

The webinar “Entrepreneurship Outcomes for South African Youth, 2010-2020” will feature Dr Bernice Hlagala, chief director focusing on youth in the Department of Women, Youth and People with Disabilities (DWYPD), and the university’s Department of Economics lecturer Asanda Fotoyi.

Fotoyi said the impact of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic highlighted how vital it was to explore forms of self-employment for young people.

“The webinar is important because South Africa has had 10 years of National Youth Policy which  forms the basis of the work done at local, provincial and national spheres of government in support of youth entrepreneurship development.

“In 2020 during a very difficult time with Covid-19, the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities drafted the latest National Youth Policy that will take us through to 2030 so it will be great to hear the views of Dr Hlagala,” she said.

“However, we cannot move forward without reflecting on the entrepreneurship outcomes for South African Youth, 2010-2020. My presentation forms part of the bigger research I am doing on youth entrepreneurship,” Fotoyi said.

Department of Economics lecturer Sharon Tessendorf will facilitate the webinar.

She noted that Stats SA released a mid-year population estimate in 2020 that showed nearly two-thirds (63%) of the country’s citizens were younger than 35.

“Concerningly, the official unemployment rate among people aged 15 to 34 in the third quarter of 2020 was over 43%,” Tessendorf said. 

One solution to this extremely high unemployment rate was to encourage entrepreneurial activity. 

“Unfortunately, when compared to other middle-income developing countries, the research suggests that the level of entrepreneurial activity among the youth in South Africa is low,” she said.

“This webinar will thus shed important light on factors affecting the entrepreneurship outcomes of South African youth and what can be done to enhance entrepreneurship in this vulnerable group.”

Fotoyi, a doctoral candidate, previously worked as an economist at Trade and Industrial Policy Strategies (TIPS) and as assistant economist at Statistics South Africa (Stats SA).

She has experience in economic research, data production and analysis, lecturing and academic co-ordination.

Responsible for formulating the youth policy at the department, Hlagala has more than 20 years of experience in the public sector, having worked in social, youth and community development affairs at regional, national and international level. She won the Pan-Commonwealth Youth Work Award in 2014.

The webinar is from 14:00 to 15:30 on Wednesday, February 24, on MS Teams. To join, contact or join webinar on Microsoft Teams


Contact information
Dr Asanda Fotoyi
Tel: 041 404 4117