Pan-African tech talent marketplace Gabeya Inc has joined the Mastercard Foundation to launch Mesirat (“to work”), a $48 million U.S. five-year program to support 100 Ethiopian entrepreneurs in building their own gig marketplaces.

The Mesirat program aims to empower entrepreneurs, particularly young people, to successfully launch and manage their own gig marketplaces in Ethiopia. The aim is to train two million young people, enabling one million of them (70% women) to secure work opportunities.

According to Gebeya, Ethiopia is on the brink of a digital jobs revolution, with the telecommunications industry, fintech startups and ride-sharing companies demonstrating the potential of the country’s gig economy. 

This is part of the Mastercard Foundation’s Young Africa Works Strategy, which aims to provide access to dignified and fulfilling employment for ten million young adults by 2030.

Based in Addis Ababa, Gabeya aims to upskill young African talents and connect them to work opportunities.

Gabeya will act as the foundation’s technical partner on the project, seeking to replicate the tech talent marketplace’s successful model across various sectors, including tourism and hospitality, agriculture, education, healthcare and commerce. They hope to establish 100 similar businesses, thereby boosting entrepreneurship in Ethiopia.

“This is a new era for Ethiopia, and we’re so pleased to be part of it,” said Amadou Daffe, CEO and co-founder of Gebeya, which closed a $2 million series A round in 2020. “With Mesirat, we will equip Ethiopia’s next generation of entrepreneurs with the technology and support they need. We are confident that we have the roadmap to success.”

The program will be implemented by such key consortium partners as Ace Advisors, the American College of Technology, Shega, the Urban Center, the Center for Accelerated Women’s Economic Empowerment and Laurendeau & Associates.

“It gives us great pleasure to partner with Gebeya and the Mastercard Foundation in this innovative initiative that is in line with our vision of creating opportunities for young women to fully realize their potential and contribute to the economic development of our country,” said Ace Advisors co-founder and partner Aida Erkihun.

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