The private sector should play a leading role in ensuring that higher education graduates are fully equipped with the requisite skills to match the demands of the workplace, Germany Ambassador to South Africa Martin Schäfer said on Monday.
“Africa has a great potential of young workers, and South Africa, where I am representing the Federal Republic of Germany, shows that everyday. South Africa is able to produce world-class products that are able to complete with the best of the best on the world market,” Schäfer said in Pretoria at the launch of the Skills Initiative for Africa (SIFA) Project’s Funding Window 1.
He said however, it was sad to note that millions of young people leave higher education institutions without the proper skills required in the workplace.
“Every year, more than 20 million young Africans are finishing school and looking out for work. At the same time, the growing levels of youth employment become a fundamental challenge to many countries in Africa. Sixty percent of all unemployed young people in Africa are under the age of 25. How can we match the growing number of unemployed young people on one hand with the needs of the growing economies? It seems simple at first hand … we simply have to provide the young people with the proper education,” said Schäfer.
“That is the problem we are tackling with this project we are launching. For decades, in Germany, we don’t have youth unemployment because the people that come from school are being taken up by the dual education system to get the education that the economy needs.”
Schäfer said in countries battling youth unemployment, often the young people’s qualifications do not match the modern workplace requirements.
As part of the efforts to improve the employability of young people in Africa, the African Union, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) of Germany, set up a Skills Initiative for Africa (SIFA) Project.
Implemented by the African Union Development Agency, the SIFA project supports the development of practical and employment-oriented skills for youth, women and vulnerable groups in partnership with private companies.
SIFA has established a financing facility for skills development to provide funding to participating countries on a competitive basis for the implementation of innovative and sustainable skills development initiatives.
Currently, eight countries are part of the SIFA project; namely Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Togo and Tunisia.
Deputy director general responsible for technical and vocational education and training (TVET) in the department of higher education Gerda Magnus told the gathering that South Africa is reviewing its TVET offering to produce young people who are employable and have the capacity to create jobs.
– African News Agency (ANA)