Encouraging the development of digital socio-business initiatives in Kenya with the Basque Country

26 June 2020

At the occasion of the UN Micro-, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises World Day 2020, PLATFORMA is promoting the Africa Basque Challenge, an initiative promoted by the Basque Government, the Basque Agency for Development Cooperation (AVCD), the Government of Kenya and th Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB). This projected was presented to the PLATFORMAwards 2019-2020.

The Africa Basque Challenge-ABC initiative (africabasque.org) aims to advance the development of socio-business initiatives, promote inclusive development of rural communities and contribute to reducing urban-rural inequalities both in the Basque Country and in different communities in Kenya (2018-2019) and in Senegal (2020). During the process participants from African countries and basque region, are taught skills related to future leadership, entrepreneurship and innovation strengthening their role as active citizens and future leaders, and co-creating solutions/initiatives/start-up/associations to face common challenges.

In this initiative, the collaboration of local institutions and regional authorities, such as the Basque Agency for Development Cooperation (AVCD) and the Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) has been key in order to build and put in place the initiative and find the necessary partners and institutional support. Otherwise, ABC is a concrete example link with the perspective of a new cooperation alliance and partners (academia, enterprises, youth movements, local and regional authorities, etc) and sustainable actions to answer the SDG Goals and 2030 Agenda, reinforcing the local and regional authorities potential and putting the citizenship at the core, in order to promote more sustainable, coherent and effective cooperation.

The seed of the project began to grow from the relationship between the Mondragón Cooperative (basque cooperative group) and the Kenyan cooperative movements, after the Kenyan Ambassador in Spain, Bramwel Waliaula Kisuya took office in 2011. His interest in Mondragón Cooperative culminated in a relationship between Mondragon Unibertsitatea (MU) and the Cooperative University College of Kenya (CUCK) that led an intercooperative team between MU, ALECOP (company part of the MONDRAGON Corporation specialized in the development of Professional Technical Education and Training projects) and LKS (part of the MONDRAGON Consulting and Engineering Division) to carry out studies and development work. In parallel, relationship were also built between relevant individuals from the Kenyan institutions and Basque country region following a visit organized in 2007 that brought 10 young leaders from Africa to Europe to address “Decentralization and the local government”.

Facing the gaps and challenges of sustainable development

It is within the framework of these relationships and contacts that the idea of working to reduce Kenyan inequalities across different areas arose, promoting entrepreneurship as the axis of local socio-economic transformation in global markets and economies. These development challenges are common for north and south, so initiatives that encourage collaboration and entrepreneurship are key to promote the creation inspiring and disruptive spaces for co-development. In this case, ABC created a co-development space for young people from Euskadi and Africa, to face the gaps and challenges of sustainable development. The ABC initiative integrated operational groups that built all the structural, operational and institutional governance for its realization. The operational teams of both Kenya and Basque country region also had to secure funds for this first edition that could facilitate the launch and leverage the future sustainability of the initiative, which is now successfully developing a second call in Senegal.

For this purpose, ABC launches calls in which young people from Kenya or Senegal and the Basque Country form teams and are challenged to come up with a creative and innovative business idea that tackles one of the issues identified by the call. The first call of the project was launched in Kenya (2018-2019) with the theme “Mind the gap” in which participants had to develop digital socio-business projects that contributed to reducing the gap between rural and urban development. The second call of the initiative is being developed in Senegal.

More information on africabasque.org

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