ProAgro Ethiopia – ‘Promotion of Decent Work in Agribusiness’ Project

The projects aims to support the Government of Ethiopia by contributing to the creation of more and better jobs in the agribusiness sector. Its approach is based on two principles: it will both “push” people into the labour market, by providing them with the skills needed to access employment or start their business, and “pull” them, by supporting enterprise and value chain development so that the private sector can grow and provide more and better jobs.

Despite some significant progress, Africa’s labour markets continue to face widespread poverty and informal employment and poor working conditions. Low levels of education and skills, weak institutions, insufficient growth, stagnating labour productivity and inadequate social and economic development further exacerbate the situation presenting constraints for the ever-growing number of new entrants to the job market and private sector activity.

The impact of climate change, demographic shifts, technological progress and globalization only serve to amplify existing challenges in Africa. The ILO estimates that some 1.25 billion workers are employed in sectors that are now facing a severe decline in output and a high risk of workforce displacement, including job losses, reduced working hours and incomes. Key sectors impacted include retail trade, accommodation and food services and manufacturing.

Designed under the framework of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (BMZ) Special Initiative on Training and Job Creation, ProAgro Ethiopia is an ILO project that puts forth an integrated strategy, combining policy support, skills development, value chain development and entrepreneurship training in the agribusiness sector to create jobs and training places in Africa to improve local working conditions and promote sustainable economic growth. It will be implemented in Ethiopia, over a period of four years with an operating budget of 5 million euros. At the country level, the project will operate in two selected regions namely Amhara and Sidama.

ProAgro Ethiopia aims to create decent job opportunities for women and men in the agribusiness sector. In carrying out its work, the project focuses on building the capacity of national, regional, and local stakeholders to develop and implement policies aimed at boosting the job creation potential of the agribusiness sector.

ProAgro also contributes to addressing the challenges mentioned above through strategic integrated interventions, combining both short-term and long-term measures, labour demand and supply side approaches, with a focus on key value chains in the agribusiness sector in Ethiopia.

Pro Agro Ethiopia is based on two interrelated and mutually reinforcing pillars:
  1. Foster a conducive environment for decent job creation and sustainable investment
  2. Value chain and enterprise development

Target beneficiaries

  • Those not in employment, including active job seekers and people not in education, employment or training (NEETs)
  • Women and men currently employed formally or informally in the agribusiness sector
  • Micro, small, and medium enterprises in the agribusiness sector

Pro Agro Ethiopia: Key components

A more conducive ecosystem in the selected regions for decent jobs creation and sustainable investment:

  1. The Ethiopian Investment Commission, the Regional Investment Bureaus and the Jobs Creation Commission have a better capacity to influence and monitor the jobs intensity and sustainability of investments
  2. The “local ecosystem” for employment and training services is improved to better cater for the different needs of the employers and the job seekers
  3. Social dialogue and inclusive collective bargaining promoted as a key means of achieving decent work and stable industrial relations in the sector.

Selected value chains in the agribusiness sector are more competitive and have boosted their job quality and creation potential:

  1. Innovative business models are identified in the agribusiness value chain
  2. Within the selected value chains, innovative business models are introduced, through collaborations with local partners
  3. Business development and financial service providers in the selected value chains better match their service offer to the needs of local enterprises
  4. Value chain stakeholders have developed their capacity to advocate for an improved enabling environment.

Quality and more demand oriented TVETs and trainings that increase employability and job prospects:

Collaboration, dialogue and capacity in skills governance at federal and regional level are improved thus local young men and women are more employable.  

Enterprise development mechanisms in place for the agribusiness sector:

Access to entrepreneurship and small business support is tailored to the priority value chains and local needs

Linkages to national development plans and international development cooperation:

  • The project contributes to Ethiopia’s Ten years Perspective Plan (2021-2030) which highlights the need to create a conducive investment climate to incentivize investors in key sectors to promote inclusive economic growth in line with Ethiopia’s development priorities.
  • Ethiopia’s Home-grown Economic Reform Agenda, which identifies agriculture as a priority sector for job creation, inclusion and productivity improvements.
  • Ethiopian Jobs Creation Commission (JCC) National Plan of Action for Jobs Creation (NPAJC) that aims at realizing the job-creation potential of prospective high-yield sectors such as agriculture and industry (agro processing).
  • United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSCDF) 2020-2025, Ethiopia (Pillar 1: Inclusive economic growth, productivity and competitiveness, institutional transformation and equitable participation of women and youth)
  • ILO Ethiopia Decent Work Country Programme (2021-2025)