19.05.2014 - UNESCO Office in Dakar

Successful initiatives to curb youth unemployment in Africa

Happy to have a job. Tailor in Senegal. ©UNSECO/Anne Muller

Four videos showcase successful initiatives of technical and vocational training project that give youth a better chance to find decent work. The videos focus on innovative projects in Benin, Nigeria and Senegal, which have proven effective in providing youth with skills and competences in demand.

In recent years, the alarming growth of unemployment and underemployment of youth, the development of the informal economy and the low level of productivity constitute a major concern in Africa.

Today, young people represent more than 50% of the population in Africa, and three out of five unemployed are young.

“African countries often have strategies and policies on the importance of technical and vocational education and training for young people, but what is missing are concrete examples of solutions that work,” says Hervé Huot-Marchand of UNESCO’s Regional Office in Dakar.“We need to share good practices of what works and encourage the use of these solutions in other African countries,” he adds.

The series of the videos present: 

The Songhai Centre in Benin is a sustainable micro-enterprise that trains young Africans. It is considered a best practice model for rural development, sustainable development, employment and training for young people, and the self-financing of business creation. 

The recognition of skills acquired in informal training in Senegal is an initiative that cater for the numerous young people who are being trained in the informal sector, such as car mechanics, tailors etc. The aim of the initiative is to put in place structures that allow for this training to be recognized at the same level as formal training.

Auchi Polytechnic in Nigeria is an Institute that facilitates the integration into the formal sector of   some 30,000 graduates every year. Some years ago, a CEDAP village, which is center for entrepreneurship development, was created within the Polytechnic. Students are equipped with necessary skills in areas such as fish farming, carpentry, making of soap, shoes and pottery.

Sectoral centres in Senegal: public and private partnership are the result of a public/private partnership, which has proven efficient to provide training based a competency-based approach.It’s currently present in three different areas.

More promising practices in TVET from around the world can be found in a database of the UNESCO-UNEVOC International Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training.

UNESCO’s TVET strategy

UNECO is calling for the transformation of TVET so it encompasses the full range of skills that are needed for, and in, the world of work. 

Its Strategy for TVET (2010-2015)  identifies three main areas of work for the Organization: policy advice and capacity development; setting international standards and monitoring; and knowledge sharing.

The global framework that guides collective action in support of the development of TVET was defined at the Third International Congress on TVET (Shanghai, 2012) organized by UNESCO.




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