IOE in The Gambia, building partnerships with Africa’s youth to address employment and skills concerns

IOE members from West and Central Africa came together in Banjul, The Gambia at the end of March to attend the 3rd Pan African Youth Conference and to hold talks on matters of common concern in the region.

Co-organised by The Gambia National Youth Council and the African Youth Commission (AYC) Secretariat, and with the theme: “The Future is Now – Youth are not too young to lead”, the Pan African Youth Conference was co-hosted by the Gambian government, the UN system in The Gambia, Kanifing Municipal Council, The Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Child Fund International The Gambia.

The participation of IOE, which was enabled by the IOE-EU partnership, signalled a strong willingness by the members in the region to include Africa’s young people in the policy discourse on youth employment, as well as on skills and business development.

IOE members joined a cohort of 300 youth leaders from across the continent for discussions that took place against a backdrop of growing youth unemployment and diminishing opportunities in ‘traditional’ forms of work due to low productivity; the collapse of the commodity boom; skills gaps; global competition; and the adoption of new technologies.

Turning attention to the pressing need for measures to address skills development and the lack of jobs in the region, IOE hosted a side event on 24 March on ‘the Future of Skills and Jobs in Africa’, providing a space for young people to engage with employers’ organisations (EOs) on the key trends underpinning the future of jobs and skills and to encourage dialogue on employment and entrepreneurship policies.

The IOE constituency subsequently met to consolidate the key EO takeaways for integrating youth into policy- and decision-making processes:

  • Take steps to include young people within the EO management structure; youth must be valued and mentored into leadership positions
  • Continue to engage in conferences of this nature to ensure EOs are not disconnected from the reality on the ground and are aware of the professional and personal aspirations of youth. This would equip EOs to give concrete advice and to curate the agenda with the government, as well as to network and have a comparative approach to other African countries
  • Make efforts to achieve more visibility for the work that EOs do that has an impact on youth employment and skills development
  • Link local entrepreneurs with the correct government agencies.
  • Partner with youth who are already making an impact in specific sectors and highlight their work
  • Support enterprises in adopting common positions and advocate with one voice

Please refer to the link in the resources section of this communication for additional information on the outcomes.

Participants are kindly invited to complete our post-event questionnaire, which may also be found in the resources section!

IOE address

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