MORE than 400 representatives of youth, business, education practitioners and policy-makers from 44 African countries as well as European partners have called for improving job perspectives of the African youth through employment oriented education and skills development.
The call was made at the recently concluded Africa Talks Jobs (ATJ) conference held at the African Union Commission (AUC) headquarters in Addis Ababa. Recommendations developed at the conference will be brought to the upcoming 5th AU-EU Summit in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.
The recommendations call for a stronger engagement of the African business community in providing opportunities for skills training and joint offers with education institutions. Governments shall provide the necessary frameworks as well as favourable conditions for young entrepreneurs.
At the same time, education at all levels and youth activities need to better address labour market demands and equip the youth with skills to start their own businesses. Included in the communiqué is also the call to ensure the recognition of degrees and other qualifications across the continent to enable voluntary labour migration.
The recommendations were handed over to the AU Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology, Prof. Sarah Anyang Agbor, and the Head of the EU Delegation Ranieri Sabatucci who will submit them to the 5th AU-EU Summit in Ivory Coast.
120 African companies and business associations, under the auspices of Business Africa, have also committed to investing in skills development and partnership with education institutions for job skills education and training. AUC Commissioner Agbor lauded the business community’s commitment to young people and requested that more companies follow the example set to move from ‘Africa Talks Jobs’ to ‘Africa Makes Jobs’.
The conference was organised in the headquarters of the African Union Commission (AUC) by the AUC, the New Partnership for Africa`s Development (NEPAD) and the continental umbrella organisation for the private sector – Business Africa. To back the engagement of the business community AUC, NEPAD and Business Africa signed a declaration of commitment to foster the business community’s role in partnerships with education and job creation.
The conference was supported by the EU and Germany. Stefan Oswald, Director of Sub-Saharan Africa in the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development pointed out that, ‘Jobs are created mainly by the private sector, not by governments. Therefore, we applaud the commitment of the business community. This is an important shift of paradigm.’ Ranieri Sabatucci, Head of the EU Delegation, underlined: ‘We must hear the youth. Working for them is not enough, we must work with them.’
The youth had a strong voice in the development of the recommendations and made up more than half of the conference participants. Among them were 36 fellows selected out of more than 7500 African and European applicants for the AU-EU Youth Plugin-Initiative. The AU-EU YPII is a programme to engage youth in developing a youth agenda to be endorsed at the 5th AU-EU Summit in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.