The European Union signed an agreement with German International Cooperation Agency in support of the Skills Initiative for Africa programme with the aim to train youth in Africa in skills and vocation training.
The Euro 8 million grant to the African Union’s “Skills Initiative for Africa” (SIFA) Programme was signed with the presence of EU Ambassador to the African Union Mr. Ranieri Sabatucci and Mr. Tobias Gerster (Head of Department in GIZ) and Dr. Inge Baumgarten (Director GIZ AU Office) on the margins of the bilateral dialogue between the African Union and Germany. The signing was witnessed by the CEO of AUDA-NEPAD Dr. Ibrahim Hassane Mayaki and the German Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel´s Personal Representative for Africa Mr. Günther Nooke.
Mr. Guenter Nooke underlined: “In the end it is private companies, start-ups, service providers which will generate the needed jobs for the young people on the continent. With this initiative we want to strengthen the cooperation between the private sector, government institutions and TVET providers to come up with innovative ideas for high-quality training which is at high demand on the labour market.”
Dr. Mayaki welcomed the expansion of the SIFA programme and its commitment to tackle youth employment holistically with both financial and technical tools to help strengthen TVET capacities within the Member States.
Ambassador Sabatucci indicated that the support is one of the milestone deliverables of the commitments made at the 5th AU-EU Summit held in Abidjan in October 2017, and is expected to complement the other ongoing and newly initiated actions implemented under the framework of AU-EU Strategic Partnership. He further underlined that the initiative is part of the renewed commitments under the New Africa Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Job Creation.
The new engagement of the European Union will not only scale up the current tasks of SIFA but also kickstart new areas of action for the programme. As new technical partners the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the European Training Foundation (ETF) will join the initiative and will implement the activities related to labor market information systems in selected AU member countries as well as the development of an African Continental Qualification Framework.
The EU contribution is part of a larger AU-EU Skills for Youth Employability action of the Pan African Programme and aims to improve occupational standards of young Africans on the continent. SIFA was initiated in 2016 by the then chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC) Ms. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and German Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Dr. Gerd Müller to tackle the challenge of youth unemployment on the African continent.
SIFA rests on two pillars: The Finance Facility which funds technical vocational education projects in eight countries including Ethiopia and a technical assistance project that provides a platform for knowledge exchange, dialogue and private sector cooperation. The Initiative is implemented by AUDA-NEPAD with support from the German development bank KfW and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.