Africa is a youthful continent, with half of the population increase over the next decade being forecasted to be younger than 25 years of age. Also, as of 2014 it has been reported that:

62% of Sub-Saharan Africa's population is under the age of 25 years with 42% under the age of 14 years.

With a growing number of Africans living below the poverty line it is also worrying to read of high youth unemployment on the continent, with one of its leading economies (South Africa) having a youth unemployment rate of almost 40%.

Indicators | Data

There is only so much governments and government related agencies can do to curb the surging youth unemployment, the question then becomes what can we as citizens do to help?

Technology Billionaire and Astronaut

At the age of 15, Ashish J. Thakkar founded his first Information Technology business in Uganda, thanks to a $5,000.00 loan. He has since grown his business interests into a "globally recognised multi-sector investment group that exists today known as the Mara Group".

Ashish is now one of Africa's youngest billionaires and through the Mara Group employs over "11,000 people across 22 African countries in sectors spanning technology, financial services, manufacturing and real estate".

He is also set to become the second African astronaut, after Mark Shuttleworth, as one of the astronauts of Virgin Galactic's first flight into space which is scheduled for 2014.

Ashish now wants to help African entrepreneurs.

Mara Foundation

![Mara Foundation](/content/images/2014/Sep/mara-foundation.JPG)

We had the opportunity of having Ashish as guest on our African Entrepreneurs Twinterview Series (Twitter Interview) to learn more about Mara Foundation, Mara Mentor and Mara Group.

This is very important in addressing the youth unemployment issue across the African continent as noted,

Mara Mentor and Mara One-on-One

Apart from the Mara Foundation, Ashish has established Mara Mentor in an effort to assist aspiring entrepreneurs across the continent.

![Mara Mentor](/content/images/2014/Sep/mara-mentor.JPG)

He explains it as follows:

There is also Mara 1-on-1,

The Mara 1-on-1 program will also be coming to South Africa,

Business Development in Africa

![Mara Group](/content/images/2014/Sep/mara-group.jpg)

Every business publication one reads tends to have an article about "Africa Rising" and how investors are showing an increased interest in doing business in Africa, what has sparked this we asked,

With all this interest in doing business on the continent, is Africa ready? How conducive to business development is the continent?

To follow the full Twinterview click here or search for the hashtag, #iAfrikan on Twitter.

Also, you can watch the video below in which Ashish explains Mara Mentor.

Cover Image Credit: Tambako The Jaguar

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