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Placing the youth at the centre of African economic growth

Nov 19, 2021
Posted by: Wendy Graedler

“We Cannot Always Build the Future for Our Youth,
But We Can Build Our Youth for The Future"
Franklin D Roosevelt
Africa Creates Jobs 2021 (ACJ!2021) seeks to empower the youth moving away from talk to execution.
The third edition of the Africa Creates Jobs held on the 3rd - 4th November 2021 brought together people of different demographics across the continent. The theme was “Driving a responsive and agile skills & job agenda for economic growth for youth." Through this theme, ACJ!2021 sought to acknowledge the significance of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) for Africa’s integrated economic growth. Furthermore, it aimed to use the vision of the AfCFTA to spur stakeholders in the skills development and job creation ecosystem to consider the required investments and interventions to enable young people to exploit the opportunities it presents. During the discussions, ACJ!2021 had its participants channel their energy and focus on three principles namely:
  • Bottom-Up/Top-Down models which can work interchangeably/ together depending on the circumstance
  • scaling and replication of networks and partnerships
  • principles, tools, and approaches for sharing/learning knowledge generation
FKE’s (Federation of Kenya Employers) Mr. Stephen Obiro, represented BUSINESSAfrica (Business Africa - Employers’ Confederation) members in the fiery chat sessions. He emphasized on the importance of partnerships due to the strength in numbers and for the sake of a levelled labour field for the youth.
“Labour migration is beneficial to Africa because it means movement and exchange of skills across the continent,” said Mr. Obiro
 He challenged programmes such as the African Continental Qualifications Framework Project (ACQF) to support skills movement across the continent.
During the Implementers Round Table talk, the Secretary-General of Association of Technical Universities and Polytechnics in Africa (ATUPA), Mrs. Jahou Faal cited the Memorandum of Understanding signed between BUSINESSAfrica and ATUPA as an example of commendable action to execution. In her remarks she emphasized the need for TVETs and skills development to be better integrated to countries’ economies.
“That way we will have the youth graduate from learning to earning.” She spoke.
Speaking from the office of the president of BUSINESSAfrica, Mr. Haddad Hakim challenged banks and governments to support the creation and growth of businesses of African youth. He also emphasized on the need to prepare the youth for the world of work and in return increase their chances of employability.
Participants proposed the following recommendations to the African Union (AU) and Regional Economic Communities (RECs) on moving forward as a continent to achieve economic growth for African Youth:
  • Support Member States and put in place effective systems that exploit opportunities offered by AfCFTA.
  • Urge Member States to put in systems to identify skills needs that arise from the impact of COVID-19 and subsequently identify reskilling and upskilling in various sectors.
  • Strengthen social dialogue platforms amongst Member States to bring together policy matters and practitioners thus incorporating the voice of youth as cooperative agents of responsive skills development ecosystem, program development and execution whilst taking into consideration the dynamics of the ever-changing world of work and self-employment opportunities.


Author :Wendy Graedler