Green jobs in Africa

For the ILO, the notion of green jobs summarizes the transformation of economies, enterprises, workplaces and labour markets into a sustainable, low-carbon economy providing decent work.

However, innovative strategies to promote green jobs can only succeed with the full involvement and participation of workers and enterprises. The ILO Green Jobs Agenda supports a socially fair transition for enterprises, workers and communities, where the impact of changes in labour markets, including vulnerabilities and inequalities and new business models are addressed through social dialogue.

Jobs are green when they help reduce negative environmental impact and ultimately lead to environmentally, economically and socially sustainable enterprises and economies. More precisely, green jobs are decent jobs that:
  • Reduce consumption of energy and raw materials
  • Limit greenhouse gas emissions
  • Minimize waste and pollution
  • Protect and restore ecosystems
In Africa, green jobs activities have been implemented mainly in the eastern and south-eastern countries. The Green Jobs Programme has initiated and been involved in numerous activities in the region, notably in Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

ILO’s cooperation to green jobs initiatives in Africa

The Youth Entrepreneurship Facility (YEF) is a partnership between the Africa Commission, the Youth Employment Network (YEN) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) running from 2010-2014 in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. At the inception phase of the project, key stakeholders in Kenya identified green jobs promotion and green entrepreneurship as one of its key priorities. This report presents YEF’s activities in the field of green entrepreneurship promotion in Kenya by outlining key achievements and practical examples from the 2010 and 2011 (first phase). The lessons learned from those experiences allow formulating recommendations for future activities for the second phase 2012-2014.

Moreover, to overcome the existing unemployment challenge, the government of South Africa is also looking to create more jobs in emerging green sectors, such as waste management.

In collaboration with the ILO, government and representatives from South Africa and Zambia kick-started Regional green business management training programmes. The programmes aim at enhancing competitiveness and promoting sustainable business and decent work among medium, small and micro enterprises (MSMEs) of the building/construction sector.

In the meantime, the Green Jobs Programme will start working with countries having recently asked for support, like Tunisia and Namibia, to assess the potential for green jobs and formulate adequate policies. Capacity building will be scaled up with new training for ILO staff and constituents, in Turin and in the regions, such as francophone Africa.