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Young, tech-savvy and disruptive - meet Africa's future employers

Young, innovative and disruptive - meet Africa's future employers.

Research launched ahead of the EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year event in Monaco shows that disruptive entrepreneurs are best positioned to address the unemployment challenge in Africa.

2700 entrepreneurs from around the world took part in the EY Global Job Creation Survey 2016 which found that disruptive and innovative entrepreneurs are growing their workforces at a much faster rate than their traditional, more conventional counterparts.

Although entrepreneurs from Sub-Saharan Africa are some of the least likely to anticipate growing their overall workforce in 2016 compared to other parts of the world, the region's share of disruptive entrepreneurs (60%) means that they will make a sizeable impact in the effort to decrease unemployment.

Azim Omar, EY Africa Strategic Growth Markets Leader says disruptive and innovative African entrepreneurs from sectors, including ICT, will make a positive impact on workforce growth.

"Most of the entrepreneurs in Sub-Saharan Africa want to employ local talent, in fact up to 91% of local talent and only three percent is going to be hired from outside the region."

Omar says entrepreneurs such as Litha Soyizwapi, creator of the Gautrain-tracking app Gaurider, reflect the determination to identify and leverage new opportunities.

"IT is changing the way we do things in the region, but it is also creating jobs. An example is apps, where in the past only an IT guru could create them, we currently have the top selling travel app globally on the IOS store that has been created by a South African that was self-taught. That is changing the way business is being done because when we talk about employment we don't always talk of formal employment."

Access to global markets

African entrepreneurs still face a number of hurdles in their pursuit to grow the African workforce.

Omar says one of those challenges is access to global markets.

"I think there is a challenge in finding ways to access international markets. From an IT perspective it can be easier because you can do it on the web as opposed to when you have physical products. We can expect more disruptors in Africa nonetheless, especially in Fintech like we've seen with the Hello Group."

The global survey also found that youth has a role to play as 65% of entrepreneurs under the age of 35 are categorised as "disruptors", compared to just 27% of entrepreneurs over the age of 55.

Younger companies are also far more likely to be in the disruptive category with 59% of entrepreneurial organisations less than five years old identified as disruptive, compared to just 27% that have been in business for over 25 years.

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