African Ministerial Forum on Youth Skills & Enterprise in the Digital Age

Date: 
15 November 2017 to 16 November 2017
Venue: 
TBA
Rabat
Morocco

www.digitalskills4africanyouth.org

Context and Challenge


In its 2063 Agenda, the African Union states that one of its main aspirations is “an Africa, whose development is people-driven, relying on the potential of African people, especially its women and youth.” Over the next few decades, Young Africans will play a critical and detrimental role in the social and economic development of the continent.

According to United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) Population Division’s report “Youth population trends and sustainable development”, in 2015, Africa was home to 226 million young women and men aged 15-24 years, accounting for 19% of the global youth population. The same report mentions that Africa’s youth population did not reach its peak yet as it is the case in other regions of the world, and that by 2030, it is projected to increase by 42%. The same trend is also confirmed by the African Development Bank Group’s “Long-Term Strategy Briefing Note 4: Africa’s Demographic Trends” which mentions that the continent’s population aged 15-34 is set to grow from 358 million in 2010 to 540 million in 2030. In addition, a joint World Bank Group and Agence Française de Développement (AFD) report states that in Africa, “each year between 2015 and 2035, there will be half a million more 15-year-olds than the year before. Meanwhile, the population in the rest of the world is, or will soon be, aging.”[1]

On the other hand, while Africa’s economies have been expanding and creating substantial wealth over the last two decades, the continent’s fast growing youth population have not been able to benefit in terms of jobs. The African Economic Outlook 2015 mentions that “current policies have not proved effective enough at speeding up job creation in productive sectors”[2] and continues by mentioning that “Africa’s transformation path will thus have to cross unchartered territory”, stressing the need for innovative policies and programmes that do not merely attempt to build on assumptions that worked elsewhere but harness the potential of the continent’s young population and other specificities for developing viable and impactful solutions that can transform Africa’s demographic transition into dividend rather than a source of social unrest and disaster.[3]

Whether Africa’s demographic explosion and its fast growing youth population will become a dividend will depend on what governments and their development partners and experts have to offer in terms of policies, strategies and programmes aiming at not only skilling and tooling African youth for employment and leadership but also creating the enabling environment for self-employment and enterprise, and also revisiting Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) / Technical and Vocational Skills Development (TVSD) provision in terms of aims, investments, and, programme design, offer and implementation.

The above is set as a priority for the African Union’s Agenda 2063, which can be achieved through educated and skilled youth. To do so, the African Union Commission has developed a TVET Strategy (2013) and a Continental Education Strategy[4] (2016) that placed skilling the youth to transform the continent as a top priority.

The Second African Ministerial Forum (Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, 7th – 9th June, 2016) on the integration of information and communication technology (ICT) in education and training under the theme: ‘Advancing inclusive knowledge societies in Africa to implement Africa’s Agenda 2063 and the SDGs’ also stressed the importance to accelerate ICT integration in education and training to develop 21st century skills, advance knowledge society and achieve Africa’s Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Developments Goals (SDGs).

This said, How can the use of digital technology best be incorporated in policy and programmes to ensure that African youth are better tooled and skilled to lead, have access to jobs or become self-employed. What innovative initiatives and projects that leverage digital technologies for skilling youth in developing regions exist today which can inform policies and programmes in Africa? How can digital technologies be leveraged for transforming creative sectors into competitive industries and making traditional jobs more attractive and rewarding? And finally, what support should be developed to foster the creation of disruptive innovations required to reimagine TVET provision and pave the way to a more prosperous future for the youth?

The African Ministerial Forum on “Youth skills and enterprise in the digital era” is a regional policy dialogue mechanism to assist member states to harness the potentials of ICT to empower and skill the youth for employment and entrerpsie creation. It brings together senior policymakers, government administration senior officials, development partners, private sector, representatives of African youth, young entrepreneurs, civil society and experts to showcase, share and discuss comprehensive and innovative TVSD/TVET models and programmes that aim at developing the leadership and digital skills of the youth and equipping them with the necessary knowledge, tools and know-how to design marketable products and services and, therefore, create sustainable enterprises and generate employment.

Expected Outcomes


  1. Developing a shared and common understanding of how digital technologies can be leveraged for skilling the youth and empowering them to create enterprise in the digital era and lead the socio-economic transformation of their communities.
  2. Sharing knowledge, experiences, good practices and lessons learnt to better inform policies and programmes aiming at skilling the youth and enterprise creation in the digital age.
  3. Raising awareness on the necessity to build strong skill sets and volunteer political commitment to explore innovative approches for leveraging digital technologies for youth skilling and enterprise creation.
  4. Promoting youth digital skills and enterprise high level policy dialogue platform and network that includes the public sector (i.e. ministries, agencies and institutions in charge of vocational education and youth, Regional Economic Communities - RECs); development cooperation agencies and international organizations; the private sector; civil society and youth organizations. Such a policy platform and networks are necessary for the development of the ecosystem that will foster partnerships to advance policy and strategy development and implementation.
  5. Sharing youth’s digital skills development and entreprise creation strategies to help address youth unemployment and bridging the skills gap within Africa by identifying game-changing experiences and lessons learnt.
  6. Creating a platform for the promotion of the competitiveness and attractiveness of TVET sectors across Africa by identifying innovative and creative skills through an “African creative skills competition”.

Structure of the Ministerial Forum


The African Ministerial Forum on Youth Skills & Enterprise in the Digital Age is structured as follows:

  14 November 15 November 16 November
Exhibition and Knowledge Fair
Arrival of Participants and Registration    
CESA-ICT in Education Cluster Meeting    
Ministerial Forum  
Side Events  

 

Themes of the Sessions


Day 1 – 15 November

  • Morning session:
    • Official opening ceremony
    • Coffee break
    • Session 1: Youth Session: Young Africans’ perspectives on the future of skills and jobs (Moderated by ADEA/MCF)
  • Afternoon sessions:
    • Session 2: African Youth, digital competencies and creative media: “from skills to market” - New approaches for youth empowerment through digital skills and entrepreneurship: addressing the skills gap and fostering inclusive growth (Moderated by GESCI)
    • Session 3: Empowering young women and girls through digital skills (Moderated by ISESCO)

Day 2 – 16 November

  • Morning session:
    • Session 4: Conventional and emerging technologies (Virtual Realities, Open Educational Resources, Gamification, Robotics, Open Badges, etc.) - trends in skilling youth for new and future jobs? (Moderated by GESCI)
    • Coffee break
    • Session 5: Ministerial round table: Creating enabling environments to support skills development and boost the creation of new businesses (Moderated by AUC)
  • Afternoon session:
    • Session 6 :  The role of technologies in developing youth skills in situations with budget restrictions, low capacity of the work force, fragile environments and conflict regions and post-conflict (Moderated by UNICEF)
    • Session 7: Ministerial round table: Skills development provision that anticipates changes in jobs and meets the labour market needs (Moderated by ADEA)
    • Official closing ceremony

Submission Guidelines


The Forum Programme Committee is composed of representatives of the African Union Commission’s Department of Human Resource Science and Technology, Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), Global e-Schools and Communities Initiative (GESCI), Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA), United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and key stakeholders. Please find here below, criteria guiding the Forum Programme Committee when reviewing proposals for presentations during the technical sessions and selecting presentations:

  • Title of the presentation
  • Role of the presenter in the project;
  • Region covered by the programme/project
  • Alignment to the general theme and sessions
  • Explanation concerning what is innovative in the programme/project
  • Relevance in terms of development issue/challenge addressed by the programme/project
  • Alignment to 2030 Global Agenda / Africa’s Agenda 2063 / AUC strategies / national policies and other strategies
  • Description of the MEL component of the programme/project
  • Explanation on how the programme/project’s impact was measured
  • Description of the lessons learned and their relevance in terms of informing policy / programmes

During every technical session, which lasts 90 minutes, 4 presentations of 12 min each will be made. Proposals for presentations can be made online at www.digitalskills4Africanyouth.org

Important Dates


  • Submission of presentation/poster proposals - deadline: 4th August 2017
  • Selected applicants notified: 8th September 2017
  • Final Presentations due: 8th October 2017

Participation​


Around 100-120 participants are expected to attend the Forum:

  • Government ministers in charge of Education, TVET, youth and employment;
  • Representatives of leading international and regional organizations, private sector and civil society (African youth and young entrepreneurs);
  • Academia, youth organizations and diaspora;
  • TVET centres;
  • Stakeholders and experts.

Participation is by invitation only.
 

​Supporting the Forum


The organization of the “African Ministerial Forum on Youth Skills and Enterprise in the Digital Era” is made possible because of the contributions made by co-organizers and supporting organizations. Your organization can support the forum by:

  • Sponsoring the event
  • Sponsoring the participation of delegates, presenters and experts

 


[1] Youth employment in Sub-Saharan Africa. World Bank & Agence Française de Développement. 2014. p.3.

[2] African Economic Outlook, 2015, p.XVI.

[3] Africa's Demographic Transition: Dividend or Disaster? World bank. 2015.

[4] Continental Education Strategy for Africa 2016-2025 (CESA 16-25).

Contacts: 
Tarek Chehidi
Manager - Advocacy, strategic alliances and programme development, GeSCI
Raky Gassama
Knowledge management officer, ADEA