Jokkolabs opens 1st co-working space in the Gambia

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West African co-working group Jokkolabs has opened a new space in Banjul, the Gambia, claiming to be the first co-working space in the country.

Speaking to Disrupt Africa, manager of Jokkolabs Banjul Therese Mam Kangu Keita said the new space was opened with the intention of providing young people in the Gambia with the facilities to develop as entrepreneurs, and implement projects that can effect social change.

“The Gambia has a population of about 1.8 million people, 46.5 per cent of which is literate. And the majority of the youth who are literate are unemployed,” Keita said.

“We decided to set up Jokkolabs in the Gambia because we want to set up the first think tank and creative social hub in the Gambia, and create an innovative ecosystem that provides participants with both virtual and physical centres to create, develop and implement entrepreneurial projects that promote social change,” she said.

According to Keita, young people in the Gambia must develop an entrepreneurial mindset, and stop waiting for external support from the government in finding employment.

“We want to change the status quo and propel young people into a mindset where they do not wait for the government to solve their unemployment issues. We want to help cultivate a generation not to think as future employees but as future entrepreneurs,” Keita said.

Jokkolabs launched in Senegal in 2010, and since then has opened branches in Mali, France, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, and Morocco.  The Gambia launch marks Jokkolabs’ first entry into an English speaking country.

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Inspired and excited by the African tech entrepreneurial scene, Gabriella spends her time travelling around the continent to report on the most innovative tech startups, the most active investors, and the latest trends emerging in the ecosystem.

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