Entrepreneurship, particularly amongst young people, is one of the best antidotes to terrorism, according to US president Barack Obama, which is why the president is placing support for global entrepreneurs at the forefront of his agenda.
Explaining why the need to support youth entrepreneurship is a currently pressing issue, Obama said the high levels of youth unemployment felt across many countries worldwide are being exploited by terrorists, who tap into young people’s frustrations and breed violence.
The president said showing young people that there is a “positive path” – entrepreneurship – is a key antidote to growing incidences of terrorism across the world.
“More than half the world’s population is under the age of 30. In some countries, it’s an overwhelming majority. And yet, there are also countries where youth unemployment can exceed 35 per cent. And when so many young people don’t see a future for themselves, if they don’t see a path to success, it holds the entire nation back. It’s a recipe for instability and conflict and violence,” Obama said.
“Around the world, we’ve seen how violent extremists are exploiting and tapping into these frustrations of young people who feel that they’ve got no opportunity to improve their lives. And what they offer are dead ends. And yet, if these young people don’t feel that there is a positive path for themselves, then they’re vulnerable,” he said.
“Poverty alone does not cause terrorism or sectarian violence, but investments in youth entrepreneurship and education are some of our best antidotes that we have to that kind of disorder. So all of this matters to us -— to our shared prosperity and to our shared security.”
As such, the president issued a call for action to organisations – private and public – as well as governments and individuals to make commitments to support the US-government led SPARK Global Entrepreneurship initiative.
“Whether that’s through training and mentorship programmes, or helping entrepreneurs access capital and connect to markets, or improving educational opportunities and exchanges, everybody has a part to play. Everybody can do something,” the president urged.
Disrupt Africa reported last week president Obama is set to attend the Global Entrepreneurship Summit to be held in Nairobi in July.
Obama said he hopes to announce the first results of his call to action – new investments and commitments – at the Nairobi Summit.