Washington — For Josemir Alcides Efraime Taimo, Mozambique's future success is intimately linked to the involvement of its youth in entrepreneurship and development initiatives today. That is why Taimo’s company, eRevolution Partners, works with the country’s government to provide business and self-employment opportunities for the burgeoning youth population.
Taimo talked about his work June 12 in Washington, where he was one of more than 60 young African leaders brought to the United States to take part in a two-day Innovation Summit June 14–15 as part of the President’s Young African Leaders Initiative. After the Innovation Summit, Taimo and the other participants will travel to U.S. cities for a two-week mentoring partnership with U.S. companies and nonprofit organizations.
In Mozambique, Taimo said, more than 45 percent of the population is younger than 15 years of age, and the median age is about 17 years.
“Youth issues are transversal,” he said, explaining the widespread impact of the youth population and the need to ensure that younger people's needs are met accordingly. “They go across health care, education, science and technology, entrepreneurship, housing … within a greater economy.”
As eRevolution’s business development director, Taimo identifies funding, builds networks for corporate sponsorship, training and development, and manages the company's relations with the government. Recognizing that young Mozambicans will become the innovators of tomorrow, his company seeks to convince investors to view the country’s youth as a “strategic partner,” ensure that young people have marketable skills and provide young entrepreneurs with a medium for presenting their ideas to the business community.
Successful entrepreneurial ventures in developed countries have shown the world that incredibly innovative ideas and operations can come from young people, Taimo said. It is critical that young Mozambicans’ innovative potential is tapped and directed so that they can build successful companies and lead initiatives to solve difficult social and economic problems.
“Look at Facebook, for instance. Who would have thought that Facebook [would be] the success that it is today?” he asked, referring to the social networking giant founded by Harvard University dropout Mark Zuckerberg.
“Now, take that concept and apply it within an African context to a traditional problem,” he said. In this way, Taimo hopes that the youth of Mozambique will become effective agents of social and economic change, powerfully contributing to the southeastern African nation’s progress toward development.
The President’s Young African Leaders Initiative is a three-year, sustained U.S. government engagement with African youth interested in positively affecting the future of sub-Saharan Africa.