Youth Employment Digital Center FranchiseBuilding sustainable and scalable solutions to youth unemployment in emerging markets via cyber cafes

Year Started:

Key Partners/Clients:
Ikea Foundation, Digital Divide Data

Area of Work:
Digital Financial Services, Livelihoods and Microenterprise


Digital Divide Data (DDD) is committed to building sustainable and scalable solutions to youth unemployment in less developed countries.

In Africa, one-third of 420 million youth (aged 15-35) are unemployed, another third are in vulnerable employment, and only one in six is in wage employment (Africa Development Bank). Each year, 10 to 12 million youth enter Africa’s workforce,  while only about 3.1 million formal sector jobs are created. While many approaches that aim to give African youth inclusive access to jobs and upward mobility have been tested, only a few models have had significant impact in minimizing youth unemployment on the continent.

In this project, BFA Global has partnered with Digital Divide Data (DDD) to develop a model that can address both sides of this challenge, and, if successful, can be adopted more broadly across the continent.

Through the pilot launched in March this year, the team has recruited a growing network of 160 cybercafes into the dijITali network. Participating centers have access to a range of benefits including centralized procurement services, capacity building, upskilling their digital skills to meet the growing demand for digital services (e.g digital design training, filing tax returns and other government documents, e-commerce, education, and job applications) across Kenya.

The COVID-19 pandemic exposed vulnerabilities in the business model of these centers, given a downturn in foot traffic and closure of their customer base, over 50% of which comprised educational and training institutions. The team has, during this pilot and proof of concept, put an emphasis on preserving and growing cybercafe revenues by finding new ways to utilize the capacity within cybercafes and their teams. 

Through launching partnerships with organisations like PesaKit, Copia and ShujaazInc, as well as building proprietary offerings like ‘design by dijITali’, and e-commerce solutions, participating digital centers have the opportunity to increase revenues by creating new revenue streams. 

Through this approach, DDD influences the demand side of youth unemployment by creating sustainable jobs in these centers, while also addressing the supply side by training youth in the technical and professional skills needed in the growing digital economy.