1. If you look at the 3 regions that we focus on (MENA, Horn of Africa, Sahel) – can you mention specific trends per region which are relevant for the strategy. Are there, for example, specific sectors where there is much to be gained? Or specific skills that young people lack in a certain region or sector?
Sahel Predictions show that ECOWAS may have 800 million people in 2050 (350 million in 2016). Region characterised by relatively weak economic dev’t, limited gov’t revenues, yet increasing integration in world market. Challenges relate to governance, regional integration, env. Protection and competitiveness. To shortly elaborate 3 trends: 1. Population growth, migration & urbanisation (urb. rate close to 60% in 2020). Concentration in small number of growth centres, combined with isolation, low population density and little infrastructure elsewhere. 2. Conflict and stability - Violence is national rather than transnational yet violence is on the rise, with some cross-boundary spill-over. Trafficking plays role but criminal severity of different types differs. Recognize importance of regular regional mobility. 3. Food economy is largest employer & its potential will increase. Key issues include removing barriers to access resources for women and youth and labour exit from agriculture (this relates to e.g. land availability, skills, rural (off-farm) employment options). Youth strategies need a systemic approach that captures the links between agricultural productivity, off-farm employment and specific dev’ts in rural & urban contexts.
Ethiopia Agriculture largest employer: around 68% of workforce. Informal labour is huge; Gov’t strategy to expand formalized decent employment should absorb informal labour force. The GTP-II aims to diversify the economy. The last decade, employment in industrial sectors grew from 7 million to approx. 17 million in 2017. Although impressive, especially in service, textile, construction and education sectors, it doesn’t meet population growth. About 3 million jobs are required per year, which is still by far not met. Self-employment/SME potential can be exploited better. Living wage big issue.
Areas to focus on are hands-on T/AVET, life skills, entrepreneurship, SME dev’t. Overall viability of rural areas should receive due attention. Sectors with potential in Sahel are agric production & processing, mining, solar, waste recycling, ICT & construction. Employment in value chains require rapidly evolving skill sets – crucial to anticipate & support that. Equipping youth with necessary skills & reducing barriers to productive resources. Encourage economic relations within regions: e.g. ICT infrastructure to facilitate trade; support diff. forms of education; ensure alignment strategies of gov’ts & donors.
2. Do you have examples of successful "scaled up" initiatives / programs in the field of education and work to increase youth employment, and if so, which ones? Or do you know of certain successful initiatives that are worth scaling up in the 3 regions mentioned?
Job Booster The JB approach of W&D aims to create effective and efficient market linkages between job seekers & - providers, with brokering services for both. JB has radical market focus: job opportunities and employer demands are mapped. JB negotiates (large) employment contracts with companies, ensuring trained job seekers to be employed. Job opportunities are offered to job seekers and training centres to respond to. Job seekers with right skills get the job. TVETs can be assisted by JB to work market driven by providing them temporarily assistance based on quality assessments. Youngsters seeking to start self-employment can be trained in business plan dev’t/entrepreneurship. JB has a social enterprise model to keep radical market orientation. Services of JB are paid by actors based on agreed results (result-based): private and public actors pay for a successful job placement, job seekers pay a fee for (a guaranteed) job placement, and other public and private actors could support the entity in financing. In the business case, financial independence of a JB office is foreseen within 5 years from the start. JB works on scale. E.g. in Burkina Faso, WD has experience with contacts for 1,000+ job placements. Experience in implementing JB in different countries show that the model provides a promising approach to education & work, and increase quality of trainings.
Employable Youth in Ethiopia (ARC) W&D currently implements the EYE programme, funded by Dutch MoFA - ARC fund. The programme has identified un(der)employment as a primary driver for irregular migration among youngsters aged 15-34. Both self-employment and wage employment are the options for youth employment. From experience with EYE, there is a big gap on the existing skills among graduates and the required skills on the part of the employer. Filling this skills gap still is a top strategic intervention. So far, EYE has been able to achieve good results, with over 10.000 youngsters in wage- & self-employment within 3 years. EYE approach is scalable.
Market info General recomm: in many countries there is a monopoly on info regarding e.g. financial products, education options, job opportunities and the quality of public and private service providers. This leads to a disadvantage for certain groups like youth and women. Strategies utilizing new technologies can be developed to provide (labour market) info to these groups but also to include them in decision making.
3. Do you have specific ideas or additions about how we can make young people part of this policy? How do we ensure that they participate in the implementation of this strategy?
In most countries, formal and informal youth networks and organisations are existing and often functional, influential, pro-active and dynamic. It will be important to consider to involve representatives of those organisations in drafting further the youth strategy. So it may not only be about implementation, also in formulation of the strategy. Next to that, it is worthwhile considering those organisations to play an advisory role in operationalization of the strategy. Looking at implementation, it can be helpful to look at the degree to which youth are involved in implementation as well as design of specific programmes right from the start (being in the lead or being part of consortia), as part of the set of criteria for selecting partners to implement the strategy (by private sector, NGOs, (semi-)governmental bodies or knowledge institutions).
4. Anything else you feel is worth mentioning?
The above answers to the consultation questions have been formulated with input from different countries in the focus regions. We appreciate the initiative of defining and implementing a youth strategy - and to consult actors for that. Contributing to a positive future outlook for youngsters worldwide is important from many different perspectives, and we believe that the Netherlands can meaningfully contribute to that.