Skills Portability At Regional Economic Community (REC) And Continental Levels

A major concern in Africa and more specifically within the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) is the limited or weak frameworks for recognition and compatibility of skills, educational and experience qualifications across national borders. This has been found to contribute to wastage of existing potentials, reduction in productivity and inability of employers to obtain needed skills. In addition to the absence or weak implementation of the free movement protocol rights and mechanisms, non-recognition or comparability of skills is one of the major impediments to good governance of labour mobility (movement of workers between jobs, sectors or occupations within or between member states).

It is with a view to alleviating skills imbalances across sectors and regions that the AU-ILO-IOM-ECA-UNDP Joint Programme on Labour Migration, Development and Regional Integration commenced the “Skills recognition for better labour mobility in Africa Initiative.” This is also in line with the Migration Policy Framework for Africa, the African Common Position on Migration and Development and the Joint AU-EU Declaration on Migration and Development.

A study was commissioned to review the existing landscape in skill portability mechanisms at regional and global levels. The study revealed that skills mobility at continental and regional levels appears very limited due to the lack of comparability of skills, and the absence of comprehensive and effective mechanisms for intra-African recognition of qualifications. It also revealed that there are inadequate systems of recognition of prior learning as a mechanism for enhancing employ-ability and developing a lifelong learning approach.

There is need for alignment of Africa qualifications to other continental or regional qualification systems preventing “waste’ of talents” in case of trans-continental emigration of skilled Africans

A major challenge observed was absence of a comprehensive inventory on TVET landscape across the continent hence limited data on the TVET ecosystem. The report recommends a comparative study for creating a TVET baseline in all AU Member States. The result might encourage the creation of an advanced information system similar to Eurydice for the EU. The study could use a structured questionnaire, with data being made available on the AUC website. Development partners may be interested in financing this initiative. TVET indicators should also be incorporated in the Report on Annual Continental Activities in Africa (RACA) as a way of getting input from Member States, and in the Education Outlook report.