Visioning Workshop for
AfDB/AU/ECA/ILO Joint Youth
Employment Initiative for Africa
February 27 and 28 2012
United Nations Conference Center
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Joint Youth Employment Initiative Visioning Workshop
February 27 and 28, 2012
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Participants: Ms. Ginette Muteta Nzau (AfDB),Mr. Amadou Bassirou Diallo (AfDB),Ms. Cristina
Hoyos (AfDB),Mr. Adrian Gauci (ECA - EDND), Ms. Judica Amri Lawson (ILO), Ms. Claudia
Coenjaerts (ILO), Ms. Judith van Doorn (ILO), Mr. Emmaunel Etim (AUC), Dr. Raymonde
Agossou (AUC), Mr. Oumar Diop (AUC), Mr. Daniel Adugna (AUC), Ms. Rebeka Asfaw (AUC), Mr.
Torben Lindqvist (JSSO),Amb.. Ibrahima Dia (JSSO), Ms. Makda Getachew (Private consultant).
Moderator : Mr. Tom Wambeke (ITC-ILO)
Day 1 – February 27, 2012
1. Session 1 : Setting the context – towards a common understanding
1.1 Welcome and opening
Ambassador Ibrahima Dia of JSSO welcomed workshop participants from the four institutions
and underlined that their presence and participation in the two day visioning workshop is a
demonstration of their will to jointly work to tackle youth unemployment in Africa. He
especially appreciated the efforts and commitment of Ms. Nzau of AfdB and Mr. Lindqvist of
the AU/AfDB/ECA Joint Secretariat Support Office (JSSO). Ambassador Dia shared with the
meeting that significant progress has been made in moving the initiative from initial
expressions of interest to more concrete commitments. The visioning workshop, Ambassador
Dia stressed, is instrumental in accelerating this progress and ensure that the initiative
translates into concrete actions following political endorsement that have been received
through the AU Summit in Malabo in July 2011 as well as the 12th ILO African Regional Meeting
in October 2011. He reminded colleagues of the importance of informing Heads of States and
Governments about the consensus reached on concrete deliverables and intervention
modalities during the upcoming Summit in Malawi. Finally, he encouraged participants of the
workshop to applyinnovative and creative thinking during their deliberations especially in
regards to how synergy can be created between the four organizations in tackling the youth
unemployment and underemployment challenges of the continent.
Ms. Lawson of ILO shared with colleagues possibilities for organizing a side event on the joint
youth employment initiative during the 101st International Labour Conference (ILC) in Geneva.
She communicated that youth employment is one of the themes of the upcoming ILC that will
take place in June 2012.
1.2 Purpose of the visioning workshop
The three proposed general objectives of the workshop outlined in the concept notewere
1. For the four participating institutions to reach a shared understanding of what the Joint
Initiativeshould be and how to cooperate in order to make it materialize;
2. To reach a level and scope of consensus that will provide a firm and stable basis for the
further preparation process;
3. To put in place a firm timetable for the process of the elaboration of the Initiative,
including indication of who does what.
Workshop participants were asked to take part in an ‘elevator pitch’ exercise whereby they had
to communicate in few minutes:
a) What the proposed objectives mean for them? Do they agree with the proposed
b) Given the objectives what do they think they can contribute during these two days and
For the first question, the participants noted various points where they expected to develop a
common view, understanding and consensus during the workshop. The inputs are summarized
1. Objective and vision of the joint youth employment initiative
- Level of engagement, criteria for selection
4. Content – what the initiative entails
- Delivering mechanisms
5. What can be done jointly?
- Opportunities for synergy
- How the initiative connects to what individual organizations are doing
- How the initiative builds on existing initiatives
6. Management structure/institutional framework
7. Financial and human resources each organization will contribute
8. Division of labour based on comparative advantages
9. Modalities for proper and timely sharing of information (among the four organizations as
well as outside partners)
10. How to ensure sustainability of the initiative and its interventions
11. How to ensure alignment of the initiative to political commitments
The outputs of the second part of the elevator pitch exerciseare summarized in the table below.
Initial indications of the four organizations’ potential contribution to the initiative
Expertise and facilitation in connecting Wide presence in countries –
with member States operational orientation
Documentation on existing youth financial leverage
employment efforts at national level Experience in implementing large
Buy-in from political leadership projects and programmes
Convening power to track progress Research and data collection
Ensuring multi-level participation of
beneficiaries, stakeholders, bearers
Access to financial resources
Knowledge products Network of offices with youth
Peer learning and e-discussion employment expertise – experience on
Platform for dialogue what works and what does not work
Technical assistance Experience in partnership
Advocacy services Working with social partners -
Programmatic support tripartite organization
Platforms for sharing information and
mobilizing support/ buy-in
Expertise on working at multiple levels
– technical assistance and policy advice
2. Session 2: What do we want to contribute? What do we bring to the table?
2.1 Defining the comparative advantages
Each institution prepared a brief presentation on the ways they presently work in the area of
youth employment in Africa using the pre-prepared added value matrices. The objective of this
exercise was to have a concrete idea of the comparative advantages of each institution and
their potential contribution and to identify concrete indicators of the real added value of the
Joint Initiative. The exercise required each institution to consider the following four items in
1. Strengths ( Added value)
What does your institution do well? What unique resources can you draw on?
2. What is missing in the institution?
What do you think is needed for the joint initiative but is currently missing in your
institution? Where do you have fewer resources than others?
What opportunities are open to you? What trends could you take advantage of?
How can you turn strengths into opportunities
4. What is missing in the external environment?
What is currently missing in the wider environment beyond your institution that
could contribute to the success of the joint youth employment initiative?
The below four tables summarize the presentations made by each institution to answer the
above questions in the comparative advantage exercise.
Analytical work Financial resources
Leverage with regional institutions - Entry point within the national
AUC and RECs jurisdiction
Regional Coordination Mechanism
(RCM)/ Sub regional RCM – coordinate
all UN agencies at the regional and
sub-regional level, a sub-cluster on
employment and labour
Advisory services on development
Community of practice for policy
Opportunities What is currently missing
Convening power Involvement with UN Country Teams
Flagship reports (UNCTs)/actionable platform
Knowledge products and e-platform Involvement of the RECs
Secretariat for the joint youth initiative Involvement of other regional
Analysis of implementation
Multi sectoral approach– suitable to Human resources
engage in an integrated manner Technical analysis at the national and
Connection and ties with member regional levels
States and RECs – the convening Statistics and research
powerof the commission is at an Country level coordination especially in
obligatory level aligning youth employment
Progress tracking - annual reports on interventions to contribute towards AU
the status of youth, reports to the commitments
Labor and Social Affairs Commission
and the Bureau of Ministers of Youth.
Direct mandate – Heads of States
decisions on youth employment
Legal instruments – the African Youth
Charter, Ouagadougou and Malabo
declarations and actionplans
Advocacy and awareness creation
Network of youth organizations and
Opportunities Missing from the external environment
High level political will – Malabo road National capacities are
Convening power Weak direct support of member States
Partnership and MoU with multilateral for programme implementation
organizations Weak capacity to undertake
Multi-disciplinary data base of youth monitoring and evaluation
professionals - the African Youth Youth employment given lower priority
Volunteer Corps relative to other sectors
Youth participation and mobilization
Increased accountability by member
States and institutions
Increased engagement of donors to
Research and information – statistics, Financial resources
labour market information, global Upscaled approach : programmes
employment trends on youth vs. projects
Technical expertise in many areas – skills, Synergies with other initiatives at
enterprises, employment intensive work, country level
national youth funds, employment services Political leverage
etc.Useful to design an integrated Coherent research agenda
approach for youth employment. Presence in some countries
Employment promotion and policy advice Active involvement of young
at macro, meso and micro level. people
Youth employment interventions in 25
Focus both on job quantity and quality
with right based approach.
Human resources and presence in some
Work with both mainstream and targeted
Mandate on youth employment
Opportunities Missing from the external environment
Integrated approach - National Action Synergies between interventions
Plans for Youth Employment can be used Funding facility
as tools for ownership and coordination Evidence based programmes
and integration. Solid monitoring and evaluation,
Private sector involvement – building more and impact assessments
on tripartite value and social dialogue.
Momentum on youth employment
Build more on the tripartite value - More
Large investment operations with jobs Policy and strategy on employment
creating impact. Internal coordination on
Diverse financial and policy instruments – employment
budget support operation, investment Clear and consensual commitment
loans and/or grants, private sector from AfDB management on youth
window, African Institute, Economic and employment
Sector Works, policy dialogue, Technical Lack of reference to youth
assistance, and trust funds employment in the bank’s strategic
Catalytic resource mobilization documents – this limits advocacy
Primary African financial institution on the power in countries.
Technical expertise on labour market
issues (recruited 2 labour-market
economists to support the Bank’s work on
Opportunities Missing in the external environment
Youth employment is high on global Coordination
agenda Financial resource beyond pilot
Demographic dividend to be potentially phases
reaped Genuine political will at country
ICT revolution – efficiency that can be used level
to improve on education and build on Information on lessons learnt, best
human capital practices and current youth
Recent call within AfDB for relevant employment efforts.
department to include the employment
dimension in their operations.
New Education Model for Africa (NEMA)
Annual meeting of the Bank in May 2012
with a focus on youth employment
Youth Talent Day
Development of the long term strategy of
the Bank (2013 – 2022) – an opportunity
to include employment related issues
African Forum on science, technology and
innovation (Nairobi, April 2012)with focus
on youth employment, human capital
development and inclusive growth
The comparative advantage exercise was found useful to envision the organizational
environment as well as to understand the various factors that maximize the potential of the
strengths and opportunities. Below are the summaries of the main points that were raised and
discussed following the comparative advantage exercise and presentation.
The exercise illustrated that the four organizations have complementary comparative
It is necessary to distinguish to which extent and through which mechanism it will be
possible to apply the identified comparative advantages for the joint initiative.
Lack of or poor coordination and lack of robust monitoring and evaluation stand out as
missing items in all presentations.
The comparative advantage exercise provides two insights for the planning process of
the joint youth employment initiative: 1) the indicated strengths of each institution are
a good starting point to identify opportunities for synergy and; 2) information provided
by the four institutions on the opportunities available for them, what is missing in their
domain and what is missing in the external environment are useful to identify gaps and
possible areas of interventions.
Harmonization and complementarity between the plethora of youth employment plans
and strategies at various levels including the type of policy advice provided to
governments is crucial.
Successful interventions with meaningful impact should incorporate building the
capacity of member States and Regional Economic Communities (RECs).
It is important to discuss/study how youth employment funds and resources should be
pooled together to bring about significant impact.
It is imperative that interventions are preceded by needs assessments and diagnostic
The involvement of young people in the planning and implementation of the initiative
should be ensured.
3. Session 3: Envisioning exercise – towards increased youth employment
In session three, workshop participants were organizedin three groups. Each group was tasked
with formulating a shortproposal on how to move towards a sustainable strategy for increased
youth employment. They were asked to consider number of important and highly complex
parameters (economic growth, education and training, labour-market regulation, enterprise-
level establishment, performance and growth along with variables at various levels - legislation,
policy, strategy, institutional set-up, organizational capacity, and field-level implementation).
The proposals were expected to meet the following criteria:
It stretches and challenges the institutions, forcing it to move beyond the parameters of
its normal routines.
It is grand, but still practicable.
It is desired. All working group members would like to be part of it
It is highly participative. Achieving the statement will require effort and input from all
It addresses multiple aspects of the group’s structure and activities.
Below are the proposals put forward by the three groups on a successful youth employment
intervention. The context of the exercise was to imagine that each group’s programmes have
won an award in 2015 for contributing to the reduction of youth employment challenges in
3.1 An ideal strategy -Group 1: Youth Employment Platform for Action (YEPA)
Group one’s proposal was a for a regional development architecture for youth employment,
such as NEPAD, with the objective of building a knowledge based economy through innovation
and harnessing traditional knowledge for the structural transformation of the economy towards
assisting African countries to reap the demographic dividend. The proposition is to mainstream
youth employment in the development plans of all African countries with active participation of
young people and youth organizations. The main policy areas the programme is envisioned to
focus on are:
Education: To advocate the transition from incremental education to instrumental
education, make use of NEMA, ICT and Science and Technology, Private Public
Entrepreneurship: Incubators, development of value chains using innovations. The
group also proposed an innovation fund that focuses on youth and that will be financed
through using 1% of Value Added Tax (VAT). The group also envisioned partnering with
UNIDO, UNESCO and World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in this
Setting up and/or supporting a Regional Observatory that could be used to share
information/data, prospective, monitoring and evaluation results, lessons learnt.
The group stated that the result achieved through the above interventions is increase in the
number of firms created and working in an innovative manner.
3.2 An ideal strategy - Group 2
The goal this group’s proposal contributes to is reduction of the youth unemployment rate by
1.5% annually. The group put forward various intervention areas and modalities for achieving
Assist member States in setting up and updating Labour Market Information
Systems(LMIS) including the availability of information and data on the informal
Promote investment in job rich sectors using already existing regional programmes such
as the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development programme (CAADP) and similar
programmes in tourism, green economy and other sectors which are labour-intensive
and are within the strategic plans of the continent.
Upgrading of the informal economy through social economy, trainings, creation of
special facilities that help youths in the informal sector to become more productive.
Use improved LMIS to better match skills provided in education and training institutions
with the demand of the labour market.
Promote the culture of entrepreneurship and the spirit of volunteerism in early stages
Set up youth employment facilities which provide access to micro finance, training,
coaching and mentorship.
Support the implementation of national action plans for youth employment through
capacity building of government structures, civil society and youth and setting up of
inter-ministerial coordinating committee on youth.
Advocacy to promote decent employment for young people with emphasis on minimum
wage, labour protection and social safety nets.
The group also emphasized that the programme should employ an inclusive approach
whereby gender balance is ensured and youth with disabilities are included. Advocacy to
promote decent employment and social and labour protection were also proposed.
3.3 An ideal strategy - Group 3
The third group illustrated the process of setting up a successful jointyouth employment
programme. The group underlined that they plan to first conduct stock taking of existing youth
employment interventions along with lessons learnt. The goal the programme should work
towards was stated as the number of jobs created for young people along with the dimensions
of the quality and sustainability of the jobs. The programme will be planned ina two pronged
approach with suiting interventions in fragile and non-fragile situations.
In regards to the operation of the joint programme, group three proposed a formation of
secretariat which will be staffed by human resources from the four institutions. A steering
committee will oversee the work of the secretariat. At the country-level, national Steering
committees will be set up, bringing together responsible government actors (Ministry of
Labour, Ministry of Youth, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Finance, etc.), international
agencies, formal and informal private sector, civil society and youth. If similar existing
committees or forums exist, they will be utilized. The secretariat will be represented at national
level by a staff of one of the participating institutions who will be seconded to act as a focal
point for the initiative.
Group three also put forward a knowledge-sharing component wherebya hub will be created or
an already existing one will be used to share lessons learnt and identify innovative ideas.
After the three groups presented their proposals there was a plenary discussion to reach basic
agreement on the various dimensions of the joint initiative. Below is a summary of this
It is important to understand the universe in which the joint youth employment
initiative operates. Thus, it is imperative to know what other stakeholders are doing in
regards to youth employment in Africa. The mapping of youth employment
interventions conducted by the Employment and Labour sub-cluster of the RCM is a
Policy advice needs to be backed by resources and support in implementing policy
Mainstreaming youth employment issues should be given attention in the initiative. By
acting and working together the four institutions will be able to dialogue better with
governments to ensure youth employment is given a priority in national policy domains
Stakeholders have been informed about the joint youth employment initiative and
expectations have been created, thus there is need to move to concrete actions.
Domestic resource mobilization is important, especially if the initiative will be long term.
The initiative can be instrumental in facilitating coordination of youth employment
efforts of various actors at the national level.
The programme document has to demonstrate what the initiative is doing differently.
The four institutions will do more and better together than they would individually.
All three proposals on an ideal youth employment programme have important inputs
for the initiative:
o Group 1: Long term vision, innovation, knowledge based economies
o Group 2: Specific and comprehensive technical aspects highlighted
o Group 3: Institutional set-up, organizational structure
It was agreed that the proposal of group three will be used as a basis/starting point for
the elaboration of organizational/operational aspects of the initiative.
During the discussion sixthematic components for the youth joint initiative were
o Knowledge, data collection, analysis, lessons learnt
o The growth agenda - job-rich growth that is inclusive
o Policy and budget - Advocate for the centrality of (youth) employment in
o Entrepreneurship and education revolution
o Coordination, mainstreaming and strategic partnership
o Upscaling to increase impact on job creation ( quantity and quality)
There should be a balance between policy, research, field- evel implementation within
the various components.
The joint initiative should be formalized through an MoU as soon as possible.
The role of the private sector in the initiative should be clarified .
Day 2 – February 28, 2012
4. Session 4: What can we do? What can we achieve?
4.1 A brainwriting exercise: What is the initiative NOT about?
Through a brain writing exercise, workshop participants started the second day by
brainstorming on what the initiative is not about or what it is not supposed to do in order to
facilitate a common understanding of the limits and scope of the joint initiative. The inputs
provided during the exercise are summarized as follows:
The initiative is not about or the initiative is not supposed to do:
Create new plan of actions
Organize youth forums at the initial stages
Create new policies/strategies, instead harmonize
Work in all African countries at the same time
Not about strategy and strategic plans because countries and sub-regions have
strategies to tackle youth employment challenges
Just another youth employment project
Train youth in areas where there is no demand
Engage in micro programmes at national level
Work in an environment where political commitment is not demonstrated or clear
Business as usual
An standalone initiative
Panacea for all youth employment problems, instead a significant contribution
Push specific agenda of one of the four institutions
Following the above icebreaker, workshop participants held discussion on the six
parameters/components that were proposed the previous day. The main points are
It was noted that the six components of the initiative that were proposed the previous
daywere not fully compatible. Some were methods of working and general principles -
such as coordination, synergy and up scaling pilots - while others were types of
interventions such as policy advocacy and knowledge management. After deliberation it
was specified thatcommon understandingis a pre requisite for the joint initiative while
coordination, synergy, up scaling of pilots, innovation and better integration of lessons
learntare the overarching principles that guide the planning and implementation of the
joint initiative. Knowledge production and sharing including monitoring and evaluation;
direct interventions for youth; policy level intervention; advocacy; capacity building and
resource mobilization were identified and agreed up on as the areas of interventions for
the joint youth employment initiative.
It was emphasized that the initiative can bring about a significant value-added by
facilitating coordination and partnership on the promotion of youth employment at
The interventions of the joint youth employment initiative should be based on existing
frameworks and build up on the work done by each of the four institutions for example
the knowledge products and analysis of UNECA and ILO’s National Action Plans on Youth
The overarching principles agreed upon should be reflected in the objective since the
immediate objective of the initiative should revolve around improving the effectiveness
of youth employment efforts at country level through coordination, upscaling,
innovativeness, synergy, etc., while the development objective should reflect
contributing to the improvement of youth employment situations.
4.2 Areas of interventions
Following the general discussions, three groups were formed in order to discuss and elaborate
on each of the areas of interventions. The following are the outputs of the group discussions. It
should be noted that what is provided are indicative menus of types or areas of interventions
that could be undertaken by the joint initiative.
4.2.1 Knowledge Production and Sharing
The proposed activities/interventions under this area include supporting the establishment and
the upgrading of LMIS in the countries ; assisting in data collection; advocating for and
supporting the harmonization of labour market data, adopting or applying labour market
indicators for the African context, for example to properly measure the situation in the informal
economy; conducting mapping of youth employment efforts in the continent to benefit from
lessons learnt and good practices; advocating for and conducting more robust monitoring and
evaluation of youth employment interventions; encouraging and supporting countries to
provide progress reports on the implementation of Ouagadougou Declaration on Employment
and Poverty Alleviation. Additional intervention areas proposed under this component are
undertaking and providing research and policy analysis on the overall economic context for job
creation and the main factors behind the problem of youth unemployment and
underemployment. The recommendations that will come out of such research and analysis will
be used by the policy level interventions of the joint initiative.
Working with the Mo Ibrahim Foundation was indicated as one possible partnership
opportunity. The possibilityof making use of the World Bank’s youth employment inventory
website and other platforms to stir discussion especially with the involvement of the private
sector was also raised. Setting-up a separate website for the initiative is also proposed as a
It was stressed that all these components should have strong capacity building dimension
where by the capacity of member States in producing knowledge, collecting data, providing
training in labour market information and setting up observatories is enhanced.
Comments and Inputs
AU Department of Social Affairs is working on the harmonization of LMIS whereby an
agreement on the priority indicators for harmonization has been achieved by the commission of
director generals of national statistics agencies. Thus, the joint initiative can build upon this
progress. It was also suggested and agreed that support in data collection will not only focus on
employment indicators but should also extend to skills and education. All support in knowledge
management should incorporate strong capacity building dimensions to ensure sustainability of
4.2.2 Direct interventions for youth and institutional capacity building
On the demand side i.e. in regards to creating quality and sustainable jobs for youth, the
initiative can be engaged in employment intensive infrastructure development. Also on the
demand side the initiative can look into the continuum between self-employment, enterprise
development and private sector development. Within this continuum there are several entry
points where by the joint initiative can act upon including value chain development, local
economic development, social economy, access to finance, business development services as
well as green initiatives.
On the supply side the group noted a transformation of the education systems adopting the
NEMA approach, including TVETs,incentives for training providers, short term training
programmes, career counseling, internship, apprenticeship, youth volunteering, building
entrepreneurship culture, providing soft skills and other innovative approaches that provide
youth with work and life experience.
In regards to matching and harnessing the demand and supply side, utilization of LMIS with
specific analysis on youth was proposed by the group including information on the demand and
supply dynamics in the informal economy. In addition, the group put forward supporting
employment services and job fairs as well as bringing together the private sector and actors in
the education system to ensure that education and skills development target the needs of the
Comments and Inputs
Since the majority of youth are employed in the informal economy, it is important that the
initiative works on improving the productivity of the informal sector. On the demand side, it will
be useful to look at discrimination against young people during recruitment. Interventions in
this regard include changing the attitude of the private sector and the society towards young
people and enhancing the job readiness of youth.Business development and entrepreneurship
related interventions should benefit from research and analysis on good practices and lessons
learnt in regards to selection criteria and other dimensions.
It is important to see how best youth organizations can be involved not only in the planning
phase of the initiative but also during the implementation. There is a positive experience from
Senegal where micro projects were being financed through youth associations. Engagement
with the private sector including bridging the gap between the private sector and the education
system should include the informal economy especially to benefit from the wide innovativeness
and creativity exhibited by youth in the informal economy. How to best include the informal
economy in such discussions can be among the topics explored in the knowledge production
and management component.
There was an agreement that the joint initiative’s work in the area of education systems
including TVET will be at the policy level even though it will be possible to incorporate some
pilots within the direct interventions component.
4.2.3 Policy level intervention
At the policy level, the group recommended, the initiative should push the agenda for an
inclusive and job rich growth. In this regard, support can be provided for policy reforms in areas
such as fiscal, financial and monetary policies. The initiative can also be involved in reforms in
the educational sector especially building up on NEMA. Another policy level intervention is
improving the business environment. Policy reforms in the labour market might also be
relevant especially in improving legal frameworks, extension of social protection policy to the
informal economy as well as reforms in sectoral policies including agriculture, rural
development, ICT and water to ensure that overall policy environment is conducive for job
It was stated that mainstreaming can be a major entry point where by support is provided to
ensure that policies incorporate promotion of youth employment. AfDB’s Policy Based
Operations (PBOs) can be used as a starting point based on analysis conducted and knowledge
products produced by ECA, ILO and AUC.
Comments and Inputs
There should be a strong link between the knowledge production component and the policy
level interventions since policy advice should be evidence based.
4.2.4 Resource mobilization
It was noted that engagements in this area could build on work already done by AUC whereby a
framework on resource mobilization at country and regional level in the context of the
Ouagadougou Plan of Action has been developed. Proposals for other engagements included
organizing a donor meeting on funding youth employment efforts and action plans; enhancing
the capacity of member States in resource mobilization including mobilizing domestic resources
and creating a continental fund for employment and social cohesion. It was mentioned that the
last point is among the recommendations included in the AUC report on resource mobilization.
Comments and Inputs
Some participants shared their concern about a fund that is continental. Among the concerns
shared were the issues of governance and criteria for allocation of funds to countries. In
addition, if the fund is at continental level and is open to all countries, it implies that the fund
has to be very big.
Resource mobilization interventions should also target the private sector especially in order to
ensure sustainability. Corporate social responsibility should be promoted. In addition, good
practices and lessons learnt from industry wide training institutes that have been implemented
in some African countries can be used to secure the private sector’s investment in promoting
Mapping of youth employment interventions across Africa will facilitate harmonization of
efforts and avoid duplications and overlap and thus free up some resources. In addition, by
advising governments to ensure that their policies reflect youth development issues, a fiscal
space can be created. Inter-ministerial coordination among the various ministries that work on
youth employment will also be useful in pulling funds to make better impact.
Opportunities provided by events and meetings of the four institutions should be properly
utilized, for example, through joint preparation of specific documents related to youth
employment. Websites, social media and other forums can be used for information
dissemination and awareness raising. Another proposal put forward under advocacy was
enhancing the capacity of youth organizations in mobilizing and lobbying for their cause
especially in regards to youth employment. For those institutions where the staff are not
conversant with the issues of youth employment, it was suggested that trainings be provided
for the staff on communicating and dialoguing with countries on the issue of employment in
general and youth employment in specific.
Comments and Inputs
Advocating for the prioritization of promoting youth employment in countries where political
will is not clearly demonstrated could be seen as an engagement area. It was noted that the
knowledge production and management component will serve as valuable input for such and
other advocacy engagements. Advocacy should also be targeted at and include the private
sector. It was stressed that advocacy should include advocacy of the youth employment issue
within the four organizations to promote employment of young people and intergenerational
balance among the staff.
It was noted that inputs of ECA colleagues will be needed on the indicative menus as the
institution was not represented on the second day.It was also underlined that the details
provided under each area of interventionare more of a menu of possible
engagements/interventions. The actual activities under the initiative will be more focused,
demand driven and tailored to the needs of each country.
5. Session 5: How are we going to work together? Partnership principles and
Presentation on Global Facility for Employment Generation in Fragile and Conflict Affected
States- World Bank, AfDB, ILO, UNECA, UNDP, UN Peace Building Support Office and Initiative.
Ms. Hoyos of AfDB shared that discussions on the Global facilitystarted in 2011 at an IFM
meeting where an agreement was reached among several partners that economic development
is crucial in fragile situations. Provided that several organizations were working on the issue
directly or indirectly, an idea for a joint global facility was proposed with the aim of avoiding
overlap, making use of lessons learnt and building upon existing initiatives. Meaningful and
sustainable jobs for youth and women in conflict and crises affected situations is a key element
in enhancing the reconstruction and rebuilding process, maintaining political stability, support
security, and overall poverty reduction. In this regard, employment generation is a key element
for social cohesion and political stability in fragility and conflict affected states. Failure to
promote economic and employment opportunities can undermine social stability, limit state
legitimacy and contribute to the persistence of shadow economies (e.g. crime and informal
employment). Sound policies that improve the enabling environment for economic
participation are fundamental for building peaceful and effective states. Specific attention is
given to the needs and capacities of conflict-affected groups, with particular attention to
unemployed women and youth.
Based on these real lessons learnt, The World Bank, International Labor Office (ILO/CRISIS),
United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), United Nations Development
Program (UNDP/BCPR), United Nations Peace-building Support Office (PBSO) and the AfDB are
working together in this initiative. The main objectives are to: i.)Ensuring coherence,
coordination and complementarities among the various (ongoing, planned) initiatives
undertaken by participating donors in selected FCS; ii.) Linking the common framework to the
efforts that government and institutions in country undertake on the job creation front; and iii.)
Leveraging resources that can be pooled and used by the participating institutions (and third
parties that may be contracted) to fund new activities and complement existing one. The
Partners have agreed that under this joint initiative, there will be joint missions to respective
countries based on extensive knowledge of the situation on the ground including developing a
mapping exercise to identify gaps in job creation and identify and opportunities for joint
initiatives to be operation on the ground (Mapping on Guinea Bissau on the way).
Ms. Hoyos shared that the facility will employ the post conflict policy developed by ILO and
UNDP thatunderlines the necessity of coherent and comprehensive strategies for post-conflict
employment promotion and reintegration and includes three sets of programs, defined as
programming tracks (A,B,C). All three tracks promote employment but their focus is different as
they respectively target: (A) stabilization, (B) return and reintegration opportunities, (C)
The mapping exercise will also identify opportunities and analyze the results achieved by job
creation activities undertaken in the past; and identify lessons learned and success stories
(‘best fit’); identify opportunities for action, including from partnership standpoint (windows of
opportunities in general). To complement this analysis, the analysis will also provide insight to
the status of capacity development. What are the main activities (again, gaps to be addressed,
success stories, opportunities). Capacity gaps (e.g. where are the capacity deficits most severe:
senior, middle level management, which institutions, etc.).
The mapping exercise will provide concrete operational proposals on job creation to be
implemented in the countries jointly, with the government and the private sector. She shared
that Guinea Bissau, Tunisia, Burundi, Cote d’ivoire and South Sudan are the five African
countries selected for the first phase.
Ms. Hoyos clarified that there are several complementary aspects between the global facility
and the planned components/dimensions of the joint youth employment initiative. The main
components of the global facility are policy coherence between the partnering organizations,
governments, private sector and civil society; resource mobilization and setting up a pool fund;
capacity building of labour market institutions; partnership; and knowledge management and
She informed the meeting that the partners involved in the global facility are meeting on 17 th
and 18th of April in Tunis to work on the structure of the fund and finalize the concept note. She
shared that given the fact that the two initiatives have much in common; a possible scenario
would be to put in place a fund in the global facility that could also be used for interventions
that work on youth employment.
She suggested that the working group of the joint youth employment initiative meet in Tunis
prior to the meeting of the global facility partners to deliberate on possible synergies and
Comments and Inputs
Colleagues from AUC shared that AU has an approach on job creation in post conflict countries
jointly developed by Department of Social Affairs and Department of Peace and Security. It
would be good if the global facility explores opportunities for synergy with this approach.
It was underlined that the two initiatives should coordinate and work in harmony especially
given the fact that the partners involved in the two initiatives are similar. A suggestion is to
pilot different countries. One of the suggestions in an earlier group exercise was for the joint
youth employment initiative to have a two pronged approach targeting both fragile and non-
fragile states. While the initiative is a global initiative, majority of the activities will be in Africa
given the fact that many of the fragile states are in the African continent.
The objective of session 5 was to enable participants to see how the discussions and
agreements on the comparative advantage, scope, intervention areas, etc., can be translated
into organizational practice.
The following are the main points raised in this session in regards to organizational framework:
Some AU member States have put in place, within the framework of the Ouagadougou
declaration, a follow-up mechanism that includes key line ministries and the private
sector. It was noted that this mechanism should be taken into account when setting up
coordination units at the national level for the joint initiative.
The possibility for the global facility on job creation in fragile states and the joint youth
employment initiative to share a secretariat should be explored.
For some organizations there are limitations on contributing resources, including staff,
to be used outside of their own organizations. These issues should be considered when
deciding on the management structure of the initiative.
If the initiative will be managed in a decentralized manner, each institution must assign
at least one person working solely on the joint youth employment initiative. However, if
a solid secretariat and management unit will be set up the four institutions can assign
The African Youth Volunteers Corps can be utilized to fill in the human resource gaps of
the secretariat or other units in the joint youth employment initiative.
There was also a proposal to use a rotating system where the four organizations take
turn in leading the initiative starting from the planning phase.
It was underlined that the exact human resource needs will be determined once the
details of the initiative and partnership have been elaborated and agreed upon.
After the discussion on organizational issues, workshop participants were grouped in three
groups. The first group was tasked with articulating the vision and objective of the initiative
while the second and third group were tasked with elaborating on partnership and outputs and
deliverables respectively. All groups were asked to consult the discussion paper and identify
areas where discussion has not been held or agreement has not been reached. The following
are the inputs provided by the three groups.
5.1 Group 1: Vision and purpose
Group one was tasked with articulating the vision and objective of the initiative. To assist in this
exercise all workshop participants were asked to write down what they think should be
included or reflected in the objective. The following are the inputs received from workshop
participants and used by group 1:
The general and long term objective should be to contribute to the reduction of youth
unemployment and underemployment in Africa and help the continent reaping the
demographic dividend. The immediate and more specific objective should be to improve
the efficiency and effectiveness of youth employment operations in Africa through
better coordination, synergies and up scaling of best practices.
Coordination of youth employment efforts beyond the four institutions.
Youth employment progress upscaled using lessons from existing and past programmes,
exploiting synergies in a coordinated manner.
Reduce youth unemployment and take advantage of the youth bulge.
To undertake a programme approach v.s. project approach at the national level in a
Contribute to reduction of youth unemployment by as much as 2% annually whenever
Based on the above contributions and earlier discussions the group formulated the below
vision and immediate objective which were endorsed by workshop participants.
Vision (Development Objective):
o Reduce unemployment, underemployment, unsatisfactory working conditions;
o Integrated labour market approach that addresses both demand and supply side
conditions as well as better matching between demand and supply;
o Facilitate a more permanent transition into labour market.
There was a suggestion to explicitly mention helping countries reap the demographic
dividend in the vision/development objective.
o Facilitate the implementation of national and regional youth employment action
o Improved efficiency and effectiveness of youth employment operations in Africa
through better coordination (of all stakeholders at national and regional level),
better use of synergy and upscaling of initiatives based on best practices and
5.2 Group 2: Partnership and organizational framework
After consulting the discussion paper, group 2 deliberated on issues that fall under partnership
and organizational framework. The group put forward that the structure and role of the
secretariat should be clarified. It was also stressed that the criteria for the selection of countries
must be further clarified.
In regards to partnership, it was underlined that the involvement of the private sector and civil
society especially youth associations should be looked into. In regards to extending the
partnership to other external partners, it was suggested that this should be considered
according to the context and situation.
5.3 Group 3: Deliverables and outputs
Further clarity is needed on division of roles and responsibilities which should be informed by
the comparative advantages of the four institutions. Provision of forums for networking among
policy makers should be included among the possible interventions under the policy level
6. Session 6: Looking forward
6.1 Next Steps
Reporting to the AU Summit : There was a discussion on what should be reported to
the upcoming AU summit in Malawi as that will guide the pace at which the planning of
the joint initiative progresses in the coming few months. It was clarified that in the next
two months the working group should aim at producing a detailed partnership
document/programme document/concept note, including reporting on the progress
made on one or two concrete activities being undertaken under the joint initiatives (e.g.
mapping in x countries, mainstreaming exercise of AfDB operations. AUC colleagues will
provide guidance on the procedures for submitting contributions to the Summit.
Initial resource contribution: The four institutions should be clear about their resource
commitments for the next six months. The fees for a national consultant for a period of
six monthswill be shared by ILO and the JSSO while ILO has committed an international
staff at the regional office who will dedicate 50% of her time to the planning and
formulation of the joint youth employment initiative.
Analysis of the 2 percent reduction implication: AUC colleagues suggested that the
initiative supports clarifying the resource requirements for achieving 2 percent youth
unemployment reduction regionally. It was agreed that such analysis requires robust
LMIS but can be supported by ongoing joint statistics initiatives.
A decision is needed on setting up a website or using already existing online platform. It
was communicated that the core team of APDev (African Platform for Development
Effectiveness - APDev) had expressed their wish for a close link between the APDev and
If the secretariat will be managed in a rotating structure, AfDB offered to host the
secretariat for the first year.
It was agreed that the working group will meet in Tunis prior to the meeting of the
global facility on job creation in fragile states.
6.2 Consensus Points
To conclude the workshop, the following list of points having gathered explicit consensus
among the participants was presented. It was recognized that the list was not necessarily
The Initiative is a long-term partnership (ca. until 2050) with sub-division into phases,
each to be reviewed/evaluated.
Development objective: Creation of jobs (quantity, quality, sustainability)/reduction of
youth unemployment and under employment, benefiting from the demographic
Immediate objective: About increased efficiency and effectiveness of youth employment
efforts, facilitating implementation of existing plans.
Fundamental aspects of the approach:
o Placing the Initiative within context of existing frameworks, efforts
(Ouagadougou 2004, Malabo 2011, CAADP, national policies and institutions,
other initiatives by same and other institutions, etc.)
o Coordination, harmonization, alignment, creating synergies (among all actors)
o Learning from past experience of all actors (evaluations, assessments, etc.)
o Building on complementarity of the four institutions, utilizing comparative
Emphasis on creating evidence base for policies, interventions (statistics, research)
Interventions to be based on thorough diagnostics, analysis, dialogue with all relevant
actors (including private sector, youth) in each country, sub-region
Interventions to be well monitored and evaluated
3 main areas of interventions:
o Knowledge production and sharing
o Policy-level interventions, advocacy, resource mobilization
o Direct interventions (“field-level”), institutional capacity building
Indicative menu of intervention types in each area provided.
The initiative will focus on a limited number of countries at the beginning.
Organizational issues: Need for dedicated person per institution. Need for coordinating
Need for formalization of the partnership (MOU)
Active engagement of the private sector and youth should be ensured.
7. Session 7: Closing Session
Closing remarks by Mr. Charles Dan, ILO Regional Director for Africa
The Regional Director expressed that the visioning workshop is a key turning point for the
formalization of the joint youth employment initiative. He stressed the need to document and
share the proceedings of the workshop withthe senior management of the four institution as
well as their respective field offices in Africa.
He encouraged the working group to integrate the issues of social economy and cooperatives
within the initiative to better reflect and respond to the realities of the informal economy
where the majority of African youth are employed. He expressed his agreement on the
proposal of piloting in few countries at the initial phase.
Finally, the Regional Director informed workshop participants that in preparation to the 101th
International Labour Conference in June, ILO is organizing national consultations on youth
employment in 12 African countries. He urged the working group to use these consultationsto
share information on the joint youth employment initiative.
Closing remarks by Ambassador Ibrahima Dia of JSSO
Ambassador Dia expressed his gratitude to the Regional Director of ILO for his support and
commitment to the initiative. He underlined that the group will have to make good use of the
next few months in order to be able to report concrete progress and achievements for the
Summit in Malawi as well as the ILC in Geneva. He added that information on the joint initiative
will also be shared at the next AU Permanent Representatives’ Council meeting.
Annex: Relevant events and meetings
Ministers of Economy and Finance, Addis Ababa 22 – 27 March
African Forum on Science, Technology and 1 – 3 April
AfDB Annual Meetings, Arusha 28 May – 1 June
ILO International Labour Conference, Geneva 30 May – 15 June
Rio+20 conference, Rio de Janeiro 20 – 22 June
AU Summit, Lilongwe 28 – 30 June
Meeting of the Bureau of Ministers of Youth, Kigali October
Report compiled by Makda Getachew. 05 March 2012. Addis Ababa