Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator acquires recruitment platform Giraffe to combat youth unemployment in South Africa

by | Jun 24, 2021

South African recruitment platform, Giraffe has been acquired by Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator. With the acquisition, the startup’s existing user base of job seekers and employers would join the accelerator’s Youth Initiative. However, users can continue applying for jobs on the platform until June 30, 2021.

Founded by Anish Shivdasani and Shafin Anwarsha in 2015, Giraffe matches job seekers with positions in sales, retail, customer service, banking, and insurance. With the aid of a mobile app, they can create a CV, take courses and search for jobs. 

The startup has raised funding from UNICEF’s innovation fund, Omidyar Network, Forever Young Capital, Catapult Trust, and Vumela Fund, attracting over a million job seekers and hundreds of businesses. 

Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator is a not-for-profit social enterprise that works with governments and the private sector to build solutions that solve South Africa’s youth unemployment problem.


Harambee does this by providing young South Africans with free access to training opportunities through the SA Youth Initiative and connecting them to jobs at partner organisations. It claims to have connected over a million youths to employment and training opportunities in their ten-year history.

Speaking on the acquisition, Giraffe CEO, Anish Shivdasani, lauded the SA Youth Initiative as the largest coordinated effort to tackle the scourge of youth unemployment in the country while expressing a hope that the partnership would impact more young people.

For Harambee CEO, Maryana Iskander, Giraffe’s focus on inclusion and access was a major attraction. “We are thrilled to leverage this as we kick off Youth Month and expand the reach of the SA Youth platform,” Iskander said.

Despite being Africa’s most industrialised economy, South Africa has one of the highest youth unemployment rates in the world at 75%

In addition to dealing with a system that excludes many youths, young South Africans also have to deal with the difficulty in acquiring skills or training as well as the cost of searching for jobs.

TRT World reports that the monthly cost of searching for jobs is $85,  a figure out of reach for most youths, while 32.4% of persons aged 15-24 were not in any form of training or employment in the first quarter of 2021.

Thus, startups like Giraffe and initiatives like the SA Youth Initiative by Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator are crucial in helping these youths gain skills and jobs.

However, the fact that unemployment rates have gotten worse despite the presence of startups like Giraffe and projects like the SA Youth initiative is an indication that more needs to be done.


With President Ramaphosa’s promise on Youth Day to support youth-owned businesses, develop their skills in various sectors and create job opportunities, perhaps this could change.

Chimgozirim Nwokoma
Chimgozirim Nwokoma

Accidental writer, covering Africa’s startup landscape and its heroes.

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