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Youth Entrepreneurship Transforming Mozambique's Future


In Mozambique, many young people have limited skills, and there is an urgent need to provide them with the training necessary to access jobs, wages, and self-employment opportunities. Photo: World Bank

In Mozambique, young entrepreneurs like Gaspar Sitoé, who created Cachichi Clothing Enterprise, are transforming the economy with support from the Emprega Program, which fosters job creation and training.

Gaspar Sitóe is a talented young man from southern Mozambique who dreamed of becoming an entrepreneur. He wanted to create a clothing brand that could be useful to and marketed through the tertiary industry (services sector), but he did not quite know where to start.

It all changed in 2022 when he was selected for Agora Emprega, a World Bank-supported program designed to support young entrepreneurs with grants and mentorship opportunities. Through the program, he gained the business skills he needed to pursue his dream.

Gaspar Sitoé purchased industrial serigraphy (screen printing/stenciling) equipment with support from the Agora Emprega Program. Photo: World Bank

In early 2023, he created the clothing brand Cachichi and went even further to create a company to produce and market his products, the Cachichi Clothing Enterprise. His company is now well-established in Matola, the second largest city of Maputo Province.

This has been such a journey. If someone had told me how this would have unfolded I wouldn't have believed them,” said Gaspar.

Creating job opportunities

Today, Gaspar employs a team of five—three men and two women—and has secured two fixed contracts to supply school and workwear. He’s gained multiple regular clients and developed commercial alliances with international partners. His clients include other entrepreneurs supported by Agora Emprega, showing how the program also facilitates networking and the growth of their businesses.

The Cachichi Clothing Enterprise now employs five people. Photo: World Bank

Although he still faces many challenges, such as informal and unfair competition, material and equipment import taxes, and related bureaucracies, he hasn’t lost his drive. His plans include finalizing the setup of the company’s workspace, diversifying the clientele and stock production, opening a fashion shop, and expanding to Beira and Nampula provinces, where he has already initiated interactions with potential partners.

“I see my company serving the community, and I would like to encourage young people like me never to stop believing, dreaming, and looking ahead,” Gaspar added.

Supporting young entrepreneurs

In Mozambique, there are not enough jobs for the youth that enter the job market every year. Around 20% of urban youth are unemployed, while in peri-urban and rural areas, youth tend to work in agriculture or in unpaid family jobs. Many have limited skills, and there is an urgent need to provide them with the training necessary to access jobs, wages, and self-employment opportunities.

To respond to this critical challenge, the World Bank partnered with the Government of Mozambique to improve youth employment opportunities through the Emprega Program, which combines job creation and self-employment initiatives. Emprega comprises two programs: Agora Emprega, a business plan competition, and Acredita Emprega, a program to support productivity through training for self–employment.

Agora Emprega responds to the lack of employment opportunities by financing business plans for new and existing enterprises with high growth potential to create new and better-quality jobs. The program aims to support 500 selected entrepreneurs nationwide with grants of up to $23,400 and mentorship opportunities by 2025. So far, 3,850 youth have been trained in preparing business plans across the country’s 11 provinces. Some of the main criteria for selected plans included socioeconomic relevance and impact, gender integration, and sustainability of the business plans. The program has already helped create nearly 1,000 jobs, of which 384 are fixed, 608 are temporary, and 61% are held by women.

Turning dreams into businesses

Much like Gaspar's, Maria Vilanculo's entrepreneurship story also begins with a dream: making a meaningful difference in her community. As a driven, young psychologist in Mozambique, where awareness of and support for people living with mental and neurological disorders is extremely limited, she dreamed of opening a psychology clinic but needed support to make it a reality.

Maria Vilanculo in her physiology clinic. Photo: World Bank

Maria was selected for Agora Emprega and through the program gained the business knowledge she needed. A year later, she received the first tranche of financing from the program and founded Casa da Psicologia (House of Psychology, in Portuguese), the country’s first private, dedicated, and multidisciplinary psychology clinic. Mental or neurological disorders (i.e., mental illness) are a stigmatized topic, and the prevalence levels in Mozambique are hardly known. Maria's clinic offers specialized care in psychology, psychiatry, nutrition, group therapy, speech therapy, and counseling.

“It is both challenging and beautiful to do this job in an environment where little or nothing is known about neurological and emotional disorders – but here we are and we are here to stay,” says Maria. 

Today, she employs four people and hires temporary workers based on her business demand. She plans to expand nationwide and even abroad. “I’m so grateful for the opportunity Emprega has given me; this is a dream come true, and I won’t stop here!”

Agora Emprega gives youth a chance to develop an entrepreneurial spirit and create job opportunities, both temporary and permanent. Altogether, Emprega expects to benefit more than 20,000 youth in Mozambique between 18 and 35 years old, half of whom are women. The program is supported by the World Bank through the Harnessing Demographic Dividend Project, implemented by Mozambique’s National Institute for Youth under the Secretary of State for Youth and Employment. The World Bank is committed to helping Mozambique enhance youth employment, foster job creation, and support women’s economic empowerment.


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