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The Ministerial Conference on “Providing Africa’s Youth with Skills and Training for Jobs”, the proceedings of which began on July 21, was officially opened on Tuesday, July 22 by the Prime Minister and Minister of the Economy, Finance and Budget of Côte d’Ivoire, Daniel Kablan Duncan.
The organizer of the conference is the Inter-Country Quality Node on Technical and Vocational Skills Development (ICQN-TVSD), whose lead agency is the Ministry of State, Ministry of Employment, Social Affairs and Vocational Training of Côte d’Ivoire, in partnership with the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA).
The opening ceremony was held in the Palais des Congrès conference centre of the Hôtel Ivoire in Abidjan, and attended by 20 Ministers and 7 Ministers’ representatives from all the sub-regions of Africa, members of the Côte d’Ivoire Government, the diplomatic corps, experts and technical and financial partners.
Duncan described the employment problem as one of the greatest challenges facing Africa in its efforts to reduce poverty and accelerate its sustainable development. He therefore called for strong inter-country mobilization to address the urgent need to take measures to facilitate young people’s access to the labour market: “Young people are our most valuable resource for the development of the continent,” he declared. “They are the ones who must drive and disseminate economic and social modernization.”
Moussa Dosso, State Minister for Employment, Social Affairs and Vocational Training of Côte d’Ivoire, highlighted the quality of the work done by the experts, in a meeting the previous day, to provide African governments with concrete recommendations for promoting the integration of young people into their countries’ economic activity; involving the private sector and business organizations in the design, implementation and evaluation of tracks and mechanisms for technical and vocational skills development (TVSD); and pursuing the development of new forms of apprenticeship and work/study training.
These proposed paths of action are based on the experts’ analysis of studies produced by the 28 countries that participate in the ICQN-TVSD’s activities. The studies report on the actions taken by governments to promote training, workforce integration and job creation in their countries. ICQN-TVSD Coordinator Amara Kamaté extended his warmest thanks to the technical and financial partners who financed the studies.
The spokesperson for youth, Assale Prisca, voiced an appeal to the decision-makers to provide more training and job opportunities for young people, as well as tax relief to encourage business creation. Prisca also argued for youth involvement in the formulation of education and training reforms, to ensure that young people’s needs and expectations are properly taken into account. “Young people are only asking to participate in their countries’ economic growth and to be trained and supervised, as long as they are given a chance to develop their skills, she declared.
ADEA Executive Secretary Oley Dibba-Wadda stated that ADEA would give full support to an action plan for the ICQN-TVSD that is geared toward vigorous action and the search for concrete solutions for tackling the problem of youth employment. She also declared that ADEA would encourage strong private sector involvement in both ADEA and ICQN-TVSD activities and the development of leadership skills and that she would take care to ensure that the specific needs of young women are taken into consideration.
To provide youth training that leads to employability, states must overcome many challenges: the difficulty of access to education for a large number of young people; a supply of training that does not meet the demand; training that does not meet the needs of the labour market; insufficient investment to raise the skill level of employed young people; the scarcity of public-private partnerships in the design, management and implementation of vocational training systems, aimed at increasing the relevance of those systems.
To address these challenges, the conference outlined the following three goals:
The regional inter-country cooperation plan and the ICQN-TVSD development plan was to be discussed and adopted by the Ministers on July 23.
The Conference on Training, Workforce Integration and Employment for Young People in Africa was organized by the Inter-Country Quality Node on Technical and Vocational Skills Development (ICQN-TVSD). The following countries participated in the conference: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cape Verde, Cameroon, Congo, the DRC, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mauritius, Morocco, Mauritania, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Also participating are technical and financial partners, pan-African organizations and experts in the field of education and training in Africa.
The ADEA Quality Node on Technical and Vocational Skills Development (TVSD), founded in 2010, seeks to share and pool experiences, strategies and policies regarding TVSD, the ultimate goal being the efficient implementation of policies and actions that promote the accelerated, sustainable development of Africa.
The Inter-Country Quality Node on Technical and Vocational Skills Development (ICQN-TVSD) is led by the State Ministry of Employment, Social Affairs and Vocational Training of Côte d’Ivoire. Twenty-eight countries currently participate in the activities of the ICQN-TVSD.
For further information on the conference, please visit the dedicated website, which offers access to the conference program as well as the participating countries’ strategy papers on job creation and the integration of young people into the workforce.