Harnessing Africa’s youth potential to meet SDGs through Decent Work

With lack of opportunities and high joblessness, millions of young Africans face an uncertain future leading to social instability. The African Union invited the ILO to share its policy recommendations with SDGs providing an opportunity to refocus on pressing decent jobs deficits.

Press release | 28 January 2016
ADDIS ABABA (ILO News) – High incidence of working poverty and lack of adequate social protection in Africa call for governments to tackle youth unemployment with a combined set of policies through review of all options that policymakers, employers, workers and youth organizations can pursue.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) partnered with the African Union Commission in promoting the work achieved towards job creation and youth economic empowerment in the region. The High Level Intergenerational dialogue between African leaders and African youth was held on the sideline of the upcoming AU Summit of Heads of State and Government (30-31 January 2016, African Union Headquarters, Addis Ababa in Ethiopia).

The aim was to highlight reforms to be undertaken from education to apprenticeships as well as youth entrepreneurship programs to national employment policies. It is within this context that ILO supported the voices of the youth and particularly young women in order to include their views in policy priorities for Africa.

The dialogue, held under the theme “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend in Africa towards the realization of Sustainable Development Goals and AU Agenda 2063”, focused on engagement of young Africans with Heads of States and Governments, continental and global leaders of key institutions with key youth constituencies including university students, National Youth Councils, social justice actors, and the African diaspora.

The intergenerational dialogue was moderated in a round-table discussion between youth delegates, the AUC, Heads of States from Ethiopia, Rwanda, Gabon, Togo, Nigeria, Malawi as well as Heads of Global and continental institutions including UNFPA, ILO, UNIDO and UNECA.

“With high levels of unemployment and vulnerable employment on the rise, the world of work in Africa is still facing tremendous challenges in terms of job creation and sustainability”, Aeneas Chuma, ILO Assistant Director-General and Regional Director for Africa underlined.

“SDGs provide an opportunity to refocus on pressing shortfalls”, Chuma concluded.