ADEA joined the ILO Eastern and Southern Africa Youth Employment Knowledge Sharing Forum

Representatives of ADEA Working Group on Education Management and Policy Support (WGEMPS) participated in the ILO Eastern and Southern Africa Youth Employment Knowledge Sharing Forum, which took place from 19th to 22nd July 2015 in Harare, Zimbabwe.

Photo Credit: ILO Harare, www.ilo.org/harare, Twitter: @iloharare

Youth unemployment is the next global social economic frontier. The majority of Africa’s population is under 30 years of age and the median age is just 18 years. According to the ILO Global Employment Trends for Youth 2013 report and the World Employment Social Outlook 2015, youth unemployment in Sub-Saharan Africa is twice that of adults at 12.8 for youth and 6.5 for adults. In North Africa it is thrice that of adults at 27.1 percent for youth and 7 percent for adults. Employed youths are more likely to be underemployed compared to older generations. Other issues affecting young generations include early entry into the labour market; cyclical problems of unemployment and underemployment; the scaling down of job expectations; and decent work deficit related to rights, lack of social security, and participation in social dialogue were highlighted. Eastern and Southern Africa are not exempt from this challenge.  

The main objectives of the workshop were to discuss and disseminate innovative approaches and good practices on skills development; to measure the impact of Youth Employment Initiatives; to help in developing a roadmap for integrating the labour market trends; to address the need for creating productive and decent employment particularly for young women and men and to share stories of the ILO Training for Rural Economic Empowerment (TREE) and Skills for Youth programme. 

In recognition of this, the ILO Harare Zimbabwe office organized a tripartite meeting of Government representatives from Ministries working with youths, employers, UN agencies, civil society organizations, academics and entrepreneurs. Representatives of ADEA WGEMPS participated in this forum by setting up a stand and sharing the hard work done in recent years on youth employment. This also includes a report on a youth employment conference organized by the Ministry of Youth Development, Indigenization and Economic Empowerment of Zimbabwe in partnership with ADEA, ILO, Restless Development and the Zimbabwe Youth Council in 2013. ADEA also distributed policy briefs on Youth Livelihood opportunities for youth in the informal sector and Rethinking policy, institutional arrangements and partnerships in creating the appropriate environment for youth employment.

 A broad range of stakeholders from nine countries attended the Forum, namely: Benin, Burundi, Comoros, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe and discussions were organized around seven themes which dictated the content of the sessions over the course of four days. Some of these themes included: “Employment and Economic Policies for Youth Employment” and “Innovations in financing for youth entrepreneurs‘ green jobs”. 

Ms. H. Phororo, Country Director of ILO in Zimbabwe, made an impassioned call to improve coordination in the youth employment sector. She noted that while there are many ongoing and past initiatives, the sector is beset by replication. 

Lastly, this conference highlighted the importance of creating a network of country focal points based on the themes of the different sessions; outlining through country reports the progress made between July 2015 and the next meeting (these reports will showcase what works and not experiences and lessons learned from the implementation of different approaches); and creating a website in order to promote and share this strategic material. 

For more information, please contact Ms. Angela Arnott at a.arnott@afdb.org or Ms. Eva Mutenga at e.mutenga@adeanet.org