Vocational Training for the Employment of Youth: A Leading Priority for African Countries

14/04/2014
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The Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) Inter-Country Quality Node on Technical and Vocational Skills Development (ICQN/TVSD) held on March 31 and April 1, 2014 an “Inter-Country Seminar on Youth Employment in Africa” in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.

The seminar brought together the experts of the ICQN/TVSD to prepare for the Ministerial Conference on Youth Employment scheduled for July 21-23, 2014, in Abidjan. The ministerial conference is expected to adopt a regional action plan for youth employment.

The seminar was attended by experts from 23 countries who had been asked to write reports analyzing the strategies implemented by their respective countries for workforce integration, employment and job creation for young people. The countries were Angola, Benin, Burundi, Cape Verde, Cameroon, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritius, Morocco, Niger, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Two countries, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mauritania, found themselves unable to attend the meeting.

The experts reviewed the progress made on the country reports and agreed on the steps to follow in to finalize them and to produce an overall synthesis report. The latter, along with proposals for action to promote youth employment, will be the main working document of the ministerial conference in July. It will be a first in terms of collecting data on and reflecting on African countries’ strategies for tackling the challenges of workforce integration and employment for African youth.

The ministerial conference, to be held in Abidjan on July 21-23, 2014, is being organized by the ICQN/TVSD in collaboration with the German, French, Swiss, Luxembourg and Canadian cooperation agencies, as well as the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Organisation internationale de la francophonie (OIF).

The minister of State for Employment, Social Affairs and Vocational Training of Côte d’Ivoire,  Moussa Dosso, who officially opened and closed the seminar, declared: “Developing the skills of young people, getting them into jobs that enable them to earn a living with dignity, building their capacity to create income-generating activities – these are not simply desirable objectives. They are necessary and unavoidable objectives if we are to bring our continent to the growth and sustainable development that all economists predict for it at the outset of the 21st century. They are also urgent objectives if we wish to end the social and economic exclusion of young people and help them emerge from unemployment, under-employment and poverty, which are so many time bombs that are likely to weaken our societies, if not push them in violence and conflict.”

Richard Walther, consultant to the ICQN/TVSD and co-organizer of the seminar, indicated that “the main objective of all the ICQN’s activities is to make the best country experiences available for a cause that is seen to be increasingly important for the sustainable development of Africa: putting an end to the under-qualification of young people and their excessive exclusion from the labor market”.

The ICQN/TVSD brings together African countries that consider technical and vocational skills development (TVSD) as a leading priority. It serves as a forum for sharing knowledge and experience in order to improve the strategies and programs implemented by these countries.

Headed by the minister of State for Employment, Social Affairs and Vocational Training of Côte d’Ivoire, the ICQN/TVSD was created in 2010. To date, it has organized two ministerial conferences and two working seminars. The first seminar, held in July 2012, brought together 12 countries to share experiences with mechanisms to integrate young people into the workforce. In the second, 14 countries assembled to discuss national certification frameworks (NCFs), which make it possible to set up procedures for validation of various forms of acquired skills, regardless of how they were acquired.

The Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) is a partnership between African ministers of education and vocational training and development partners; a forum for dialogue on education and training policies; a network of decision-makers, professionals and researchers in education; and a catalyst for educational reforms aimed at the accelerated, sustainable development of Africa. ADEA’s programs are implemented by its Secretariat, its working groups, Task Force and ICQNs. ADEA is hosted by the African Development Bank (AfDB).