New Agreement in Ethiopia between Ministry of Trade and BRIDGES Programme to Spur Job Creation and Support MSMEs

Alemayehu Konde Koira, Ethiopia Country Head, Mastercard Foundation, addresses the audience at the MoU signing ceremony between the BRIDGES Programme and the Ministry of Trade and Industry on Thursday , June 24, 2021.
24 June 2021
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Addis Ababa — Today, the BRIDGES Programme signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Trade and Industry that will lead to significant work opportunities for young people in Ethiopia.

The collaboration will focus on enhancing the competitiveness of the industrial sector to attract qualified workers and will offer support to existing micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs). The parties agreed to cooperate, share information and resources, and enter necessary and specific agreements to realize the objectives of the initiative. The BRIDGES Programme, which is a part of the Mastercard Foundation’s Young Africa Works in Ethiopia strategy, is being implemented in partnership with First Consult.

This endeavour is expected to facilitate increased local manufacturing and create domestic linkages between MSMEs and large manufacturing firms in the country.  This will lead to greater competitiveness for Ethiopia’s MSMEs, as well as the development of sustainable business linkages between large enterprises and MSMEs.

These linkages will increase their market share, revenue, sustainable input supply, and contribute to the country’s effort to substitute local production for import, which will translate into work opportunities for young people.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry is entrusted with formulating policies that ensure sustained development and competitiveness within trade and industry. They achieve this by creating an enabling system for increased participation of the private sector; promoting the expansion of domestic trade; taking appropriate measures to maintain lawful trade practices; designing policies and strategies; and helping to fast-track industrial development.

"The agreement is aimed at supporting small and medium enterprises and creating job opportunities for university graduates and unskilled job seekers. As a platform for cooperation and industrialization, it is expected to contribute to the growth of the country's manufacturing sector," said Addisu Biazen, Technical Assistant to the State Minister’s Advisor – Agro-Processing and Pharmaceuticals Sector, Ministry of Trade and Industry.

The collaboration between the Ministry of Trade and Industry and First Consult’s BRIDGES Programme will create local ownership and governance structures to support local linkages, as well as coordinate and facilitate BRIDGES’ public private partnership (PPP) with relevant organizations to support industries and MSMEs. It will further organize and cover costs related to induction workshops, entrepreneurship, and life skills training for young graduates and facilitate the provision of credit or access to finance (A2F) with favourable terms from partner financial institutions. It will also coordinate a national school shoes and bag manufacturing project, which will engage SMEs and establish policy-related studies and discussions focused on improving local value addition and import substitution.

"This partnership will enable Ethiopia's youth and MSMEs to benefit from the growing manufacturing industry in the country through skills development and business linkages," said Michael Addisu’, BRIDGES Programme Team Lead.

“Creating opportunities for millions of young people is a mammoth task that requires all stakeholders to work together transparently and collaboratively, which is the spirit of this new agreement. We look forward to supporting the efforts of First Consult and the Ministry of Trade and Industry, and delivering tangible impact for millions of Ethiopian youth,” said Alemayehu Konde Koira, Ethiopia Country Head, Mastercard Foundation. 

About the Mastercard Foundation

The Mastercard Foundation works with visionary organizations to enable young people in Africa and in Indigenous communities in Canada to access dignified and fulfilling work.  It is one of the largest, private foundations in the world with a mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion to create an inclusive and equitable world. The Foundation was created by Mastercard in 2006 as an independent organization with its own Board of Directors and management.

The BRIDGES Programme, which is a part of the Mastercard Foundation’s Young Africa Works in Ethiopia strategy, and is being implemented in partnership with First Consult, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Trade and Industry that will lead to significant work opportunities for young people in Ethiopia.

For more information on the Foundation, please visit:

About the Ministry of Trade and Industry (Motif)

The Ministry of Trade and Industry was established in 2018 by Proclamation No.1097/2018 with an objective to be a key economic policy organization to accelerate Ethiopia’s industrialization process and ensure the existence of fair, transparent and modern trading activities. The core objectives of the Ministry of Trade and Industry are to enhance transparency and fairness of the institutional and organizational framework for trade operations. Additionally, the Ministry works to intensify international trade and improving domestic marketing systems by strengthening consumers' cooperatives and supporting access to viable market opportunities.

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About First Consult

First Consult is a leading Ethiopian institution specialized in economic development in Ethiopia. With a focus on private sector, financial sector, and human capital development since 2005, First Consult has built and worked with over 500 partnerships that spans the private sector, government, and development community. By supporting and mobilizing strong local institutions with highly capable individuals, the institution strives to solve the most-critical development challenges of our time. The core focus on youth development and women’s economic empowerment is central to the mission of First Consult, which is to realize an inclusive and sustainable development that benefits all.

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About the BRIDGES Programme

The BRIDGES Programme is a five-year initiative, which aims to create employment opportunities for young women and men by unlocking the job creation potential of industrial parks (IPs), other anchor enterprises (AEs), and their surrounding ecosystem, including micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs). Through the program, BRIDGES works to support the creation of close to 600,000 jobs for young people (80% women) and 15,000 micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs). BRIDGES works to capitalize on, and scale-up its previous experiences and key learnings within the industrial sector toward creating direct employment linkages, as well as establishing sustainable market linkages between AEs and MSMEs. The BRIDGES Programme is comprised of four focus areas: Employment Linkage, Enterprise Development, Enterprise Competitiveness, and Access to Finance.

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For further inquiries, please contact:

Ministry of Trade and Industry
Paulos Berga Bedhassa, Agro-Processing and Pharmaceuticals Sector - State Minister’s Adviser
Telephone: +251 11 551 9461

Mastercard Foundation

Simret Yasabu, Lead, Program Communications
Telephone: +251 975 048876

First Consult

Etalem Engeda, BRIDGES Programme - Enterprise Development Lead
Telephone: +251 114 401 473

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