Opening Remarks - Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn : 2015 UNDP Entrepreneurship AwardMar 5, 2015
It is a great pleasure for me to be here amongst you for the first 2015 UNDP Entrepreneurship Award Ceremony. Allow me to extend to all of you gathered here, particularly the awardees a warm welcome as we celebrate your success and achievements to come.
Two years ago I accepted the invitation of my brother Eugene to launch together with him the Ethiopian Entrepreneurship Development Centre Programme. I did gladly accept his invitation because the project was and continues to be of prime importance to my government; because we need to put all the attention we can on the effort to eradicate poverty and set the country on the path of industrial development.
Ladies and Gentlemen
As you are well aware, with the growing number of the youth population and the increasing number of graduates from our still growing higher learning institutions, there is an all too palpable need to create massive employment opportunities in Ethiopia. This is why in our GTP emphasis is made to the development of Micro and Small Enterprises not only because they are the most viable way of creating massive employment opportunities but more importantly because these are the most reliable drivers of industrial development.
We believe by providing entrepreneurial skills training and mentorship to our youth, tens of thousands new jobs will be created, which will in turn stimulate economic growth. This will ultimately lead to the economic empowerment of our youth and women which are the most critical stakeholders in the development process.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am informed that the program we have launched has so far trained over 12000 Ethiopians and also provided business development services. As I have tried to highlight last time, I do hope that this project focuses should not only on the provision of entrepreneurship development training, but also envisage the provision of business development services that will see the creation of new Small and Micro Enterprises and the enhancement of existing ones.
As you are well aware, Ethiopia’s development cannot be achieved by only attracting foreign direct investment, or by getting Ethiopians who have managed to accumulate capital/wealth to involve in business ventures. Ethiopian youths can equally contribute to their country's development through their entrepreneurial skill and commitment despite and an apparent lack of wealth. That is why I would like to call on the UNDP once again to redouble its effort to extend similar training not just ten thousands youths however significant but to hundred times as many. That I believe, will once again confirm that your efforts are indeed an integral part of Ethiopia’s development narrative.
In conclusion, I would like to acknowledge UNDP and other partners who have sponsored or co-sponsored the awards. And more particularly I would like to thank those who supported the entrepreneurship development programme including but not limited to Canada and Microsoft East Africa who I learnt have come on board and plans to provide entrepreneurs with access to the necessary tools and mentorship.