The AfDB and its partners in search of a regional approach for the employment of the young and qualified in North Africa

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The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) organized on the 12th and 13th March in Rabat, Morocco, a regional conference on the employment of young graduates from institutions of higher education. The object of the conference was to rethink and lay down more efficient reform policies with regard to higher education in order to guarantee the possible employment of young graduates.  

The discussions were centered on the types of rapport between the State and the universities, the students and employers, as well as to determine in what ways the lessons drawn from past experiences could serve as an inspiration to North Africa and Middle East countries.

According to the Moroccan  Minister of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Professional  Training, Lahcen Daoudi, « Due to its scope and complex nature, the problem of youth employment can only be handled at the regional level, in concert with other countries and with the help of international institutions ».

He also underscored the need to develop at an early age among students, scientific and technological pursuits, the spirit of entrepreneurship and the culture of achievement through a permanent quest for skills and knowledge in a world where only innovation and competitiveness  make a difference.

The AfDB Resident Representative in Morocco, Amani Abou-Zeid,  said it was important to  «rekindle  and promote in Africa proper  and innovative  institutions and structures  of higher  education  made to liberate the spirit and potential of our populations and thus prepare them to face  multiple development challenges » .   

The ambition of the AfDB, she added, is to  « strengthen its  lasting orientation as a  « Bank of knowledge » providing support to regional integration by way of integrated systems of higher learning and the purview of skills and knowledge ».

The theme of the meeting was in line with the Bank’s human development strategy in North Africa and the Middle East.  Indeed, youth unemployment is one of the major problems facing young people in the region.  

Given the trends of population increase and higher levels of school-going children, there is a mass production of students from institutes of higher education.  This takes place within a framework where the ill-prepared system of education is unable to efficiently provide school leavers and graduates with the requisite skills for their successful entry into the labor market.  

The meeting was jointly organized with the British Council, the Islamic Conference for Education, Science and Culture (ISESCO) and the government of Morocco.  It was attended by about a hundred academia, decision-makers, experts and employers from Egypt, Algeria, Libya, Tunisia, Lebanon, Morocco,  Pakistan, Yemen and Indonesia.

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