ILO and ITU pledge to support job creation for young people in the digital sector in Côte d'Ivoire

ABIDJAN, Côte d'Ivoire, March 9, 2020 – On the occasion of a high-level mission in Côte d'Ivoire, Cynthia Samuel-Olonjuwon, Assistant Director-General and Regional Director for Africa at the ILO, and Andrew Rugege, Regional Director for Africa at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), reaffirmed the commitment of their respective institutions to promote youth employment in the digital sector through the initiative “Boosting decent jobs and enhancing skills for youth in Africa’s digital economy”.

Press release | 12 March 2020
The objective of the joint program is to enable young Africans to access decent work opportunities in the digital economy. The programme’s systemic approach will boost job creation and entrepreneurship opportunities in the digital economy while promoting respect for the rights of young people at work, investing in digital capacities and skills and improving the mechanism for intermediation of the labour market and employment services.

“This programme is geared toward promoting decent jobs and skills for youth in Africa, so they can optimize the opportunities in the digital economy and to ensure that the digital economy in Africa supports the development of the countries,” said Samuel-Olonjuwon, following their meeting with Côte d’Ivoire’s Minister of Employment and Social Protection, Pascal Kouakou Abinan. “We are very pleased that the Minister has confirmed the commitment of the Government of Côte d’Ivoire to this very important initiative that will translate our demographic profile in Africa, generally, and in Côte d’Ivoire specifically, to a demographic dividend that will support development.”

“To reap the benefits of digital transformation in Africa, all young people in Côte d’Ivoire and on the continent at large, should be equipped with the necessary digital skills. We are very excited to be working with ILO on this joint programme and look forward engaging more partners in the effort,” said ITU Regional Director for Africa Andrew Rugege.

“The Ivorian Government has made the digital sector a lever for the development and emergence of the country,” said Minister Abinan, citing in particular the country’s National Employment Policy, whose objective is to promote the creation of decent and quality jobs for men and women of working age.

The high-level mission of two specialized agencies of the United Nations met the constituents of the two institutions, including the Ivorian Ministers in charge of employment and youth employment; employers’ and workers’ organizations; networks of young digital entrepreneurs, training institutions and the regulatory authority.

The mission was part of a process of strengthening partnerships and seeking synergies with other stakeholders in the digital sector in Côte d'Ivoire. To this end, the two Regional Directors for Africa met with technical and financial partners, including United Nations agencies, the African Development Bank and the European Union.

For their part, the African heads of the two UN agencies welcomed the importance the Government of Côte d'Ivoire has placed on using information and communications technology (ICT) to leverage and accelerate development. ICT has a significant impact on all branches of the national economy and holds enormous potential to accelerate productivity and growth. By its cross-cutting nature, ICT can also help Côte d'Ivoire to achieve of all the sustainable development goals.

The service sector contributed 3.4 percentage points to growth in 2018 and remains the main driver of the Ivorian economy. The digital sector plays an important role, given its potential to boost and revitalize sectors that generate growth and create jobs.

This ILO-ITU initiative was launched following the adoption of the Abidjan Declaration at the conclusion of the 14th African Regional Meeting of the ILO in December 2019. The declaration calls on member states to strengthen “the capacities of all people to benefit from opportunities of a changing world of work through,” among others, “investing in human capital by strengthening education, skilling, reskilling, upskilling and lifelong learning to leverage technology and the new types of jobs it helps create.” It responds to the double need to ensure that Africa takes advantage of the opportunities offered by the digital transition to revive its economy, while addressing the high levels of underemployment and poverty among young people.

For more information on this initiative please refer to the related Web pages.

Contact: Jennifer Patterson, Regional Communication and Public Information Officer, ILO Regional Office for Africa, tel. +225 20 31 8947,