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In a bold move to reignite economic growth and foster innovation, the Libyan government, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), European Union (EU), and the African Development Bank (AfDB) have joined forces to launch the Deraya entrepreneurship Initiative in the North African country.
This transformative initiative aims to cultivate a vibrant ecosystem of innovative entrepreneurs and start-ups, injecting new life into the country’s economy and paving the way for job creation.
Libya, with its abundance of untapped potential, has long sought avenues to unlock economic growth and establish a thriving private sector. The Deraya initiative represents a pivotal turning point in this endeavour, targeting young entrepreneurs and vulnerable groups between the ages of 18 and 35.
By equipping them with the essential knowledge and resources needed to transform their innovative ideas into successful ventures, Deraya seeks to unleash a wave of creativity and entrepreneurship across the nation.
The initiative will employ an interactive approach, leveraging webinars to connect participants with seasoned entrepreneurs, subject matter experts, and inspiring role models from Libya, Egypt, and Tunisia. These sessions will provide invaluable insights, enabling aspiring entrepreneurs to learn from the successes and experiences of those who have already blazed a trail in the business world.
Furthermore, start-up weekends will be held in prominent Libyan cities such as Tripoli, Benghazi, Sebha, and Derna, culminating in a high-stakes pitch competition. Winners of the competition will receive financial support generously provided by the EU and AfDB, empowering them to refine and expand their business ideas.
To ensure the longevity of these ventures, Deraya emphasises the importance of municipal business incubators, which will be established with the technical guidance of Libya’s ministry of local government, and UNDP. By fostering an environment conducive to growth and innovation, these incubators will offer ongoing support and mentorship, nurturing the start-ups as they navigate the intricate landscape of entrepreneurship.
Dr Bader Al-Deen Al-Tomi, minister of local government, views the Deraya initiative as a cornerstone of its strategy to stimulate entrepreneurship and micro-enterprises at the local level. He emphasised, “In line with law 592 and resolution 15 003, the Deraya initiative plays a pivotal role in empowering municipalities economically and providing job opportunities. We are thrilled to collaborate with our esteemed international partners, including the EU, AfDB, and UNDP, as we work towards these shared goals.”
The EU ambassador to Libya, José Sabadell, recognises the pivotal role of young entrepreneurs in driving Libya’s economic prosperity. He affirms, “By fostering a diversified Libyan economy, a robust private sector, and generating new employment opportunities, young entrepreneurs with innovative, forward-looking ideas will be the catalysts for positive change.”
The EU stands ready to offer unwavering support to young Libyan entrepreneurs, empowering them to transform their business ideas into reality.
Mohamed El Azizi, regional director for North Africa at the African Development Bank, echoes the sentiment that private sector development is instrumental in enhancing economic diversification and generating employment opportunities. “The socio-economic impact of empowering these individuals is immense and will undoubtedly contribute to job creation. Establishing an enabling business environment and providing institutional support are vital components of this journey.”
Marc-André Franche, UNDP resident representative, envisions Libya as a thriving hub for entrepreneurial activity in North Africa. He asserts, “With a new generation of ambitious and talented young Libyans, the country possesses the potential to become one of the most vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystems in the region.”
The Deraya initiative constitutes a significant part of UNDP’s local peacebuilding and resilience efforts, working hand in hand with the Libyan government to create socio-economic opportunities for youth and vulnerable groups.
The Deraya initiative, co-funded by the AfDB and the EU, operates in collaboration with a consortium consisting of Flat6Labs, Tatweer Research, and MAZAM. This esteemed consortium brings a wealth of experience and specialised knowledge in supporting young entrepreneurs across the Middle East and Africa, further enhancing the initiative’s prospects for success.