The Skills Initiative for Africa is an initiative by Germany and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission that seeks to effectively contribute to creating new perspectives through increased employment and income opportunities for young people in Africa. Its particular added value is its continental and regional dimension and the sharing of lessons learnt among AU member states.
The Initiative encompasses (i) an AUC/NEPAD Financing Facility for Skills Development to promote innovative TVET approaches with the potential for regional dissemination (FC component) and (ii) institutional strengthening and capacity development support to a) HRST and NEPAD/ NPCA to strengthen their TVET steering and coordination capacities and b) to establish an Africa-wide Dialogue Platform to disseminate innovative TVET approaches / good practices at the continental level (TC component).
It addresses the growing problem of youth unemployment which is a major socio-economic development concern on the African continent. Access to education and employment are a precondition for poverty reduction as well as for political stability and sustainable development. Many African countries have identified Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) as key to solving these problems and have put TVET on the top of their political agendas.
While TVET strategies have been discussed and agreed upon at the level of the AU and in a number of Member States, operationalization and implementation of these policies along with the required investments in infrastructure, equipment as well as human capital still have not been adequately addressed. Practical, financial as well as strategic cooperation with the private sector is one key to successful TVET education but presents a challenge in most countries. Also, visibility, increased awareness and social standing of TVET are hindrances that can best be confronted continent-wide as the prestige of TVET does not yet match the significant potential it can have for Member States and their citizens.
At the same time, there are many Member States as well as public and private organizations that are already making huge efforts to enhance TVET at the local level and that have gained a wealth of experience. In light of an array of common challenges, these local experiences are of high value continent-wide. Unlocking this information would allow spill overs of experiences among countries and benchmarking of approaches against best practices.
In the short-term, the appraisal for the financing facility of the Skills Initiative will focus on five countries (i.e. Tunisia, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa and Cameroon), to show impact at scale whereas the TC part will focus for now only on strengthening the continental TVET steering and coordination as well as the dissemination of good practices. At a later stage it is envisaged that technical support to applicants and the design of measures to be supported by the financing facility at country level become an additional TC support area.