The US will put up three women entrepreneurship centres in Kenya, Mali and Zambia, US President Barack Obama has said.
Obama said the three countries will benefit from a Sh101 billion fund in women’s support.
“If more global capital could see beyond prejudicial blinders, the great progress of the last 10 years could harness potential. It is time we changed the narrative about Africa,” he said.
“If half of your team is not playing, you have a problem. In many countries, half of the the team is women and youth”.
He spoke on Saturday morning during the 6th Global Entrepreneurship Summit at the UN headquarters in Gigiri, which he is co-hosting with President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Obama said it is great when governments feel obliged to support start-ups in the entrepreneurial world, adding that the world has to invest in human capital.
“This is a neglected market, the US government policy can help but it is all about exposure. Do not be distracted by some of the stereotypes being promoted about Africa, come and invest and partner,” he said.
He said governments should facilitate, as opposed to being parasitic to the entrepreneurial spirit, and that they should practice what they preach.
“Entrepreneurship is tough, you face many challenges along the way; access to capital, getting mentorship. I am proud of what Kenya has done so far. I urge more global leaders to come to Kenya, Africa,” he said.
He said Kenya needs to be the hub for the world, not just Africa.
Obama lauded governments that recognise and use technology saying this steers innovation.
He said the young people he has seen starting their own businesses in nations he has visited, indicate that they can compete on the global platform.
“Imagine what would happen if more global leaders came into Kenya,” he said, adding that great things are expected of young entrepreneurs.
‘It is even more encouraging President Uhuru Kenyatta has pledged his support. We are surrounded by entrepreneurs from over 120 countries,” he noted.