Representatives of youth employment programme meet in Dakar

15 Dec 2010

Representatives of UNDP’s Regional programme for Social Cohesion and Youth Employment convened in Dakar, Senegal earlier this month. They were joined by Directors in charge of Youth Employment, members of UNESCO, the International Labor Organization and the Spanish government Cooperation an who is funding a host of national representatives who are partnering on the programme. The opening ceremony has been enhanced by the presence of the Chief of Departmental staff of the Minister of Youth and Sports and also by the Permanent Secretary of Accelerated Growth of Senegal.

The participants examined the possibility of mainstreaming the new MDG1.B on decent work in decent employment in the poverty reduction strategies and United Nations Development Assistance Frameworks (UNDAF) of the twelve countries that are taking part in the programme.  They also discussed prospects for better implementation, monitoring and reporting on result based, thenand implementation, shared experiences whichthat are going in the several recipient countries, selected some best initiatives which will be disseminated.

In addition, the meeting reviewed UNDP and UNESCO’s joint approach in integrating technical Technical and vocational Vocational education Education and Ttraining to facilitate youth employment and workers mobility in West Africa region. The participants looked at the technical issues involved in developing budgets that are specific to employment, looking at the experiences of Burkina Faso and Tanzania.

The issue of supporting employment, facilitating economic recovery and promoting social cohesion in post-crisis countries featured prominently in the discussions. The group also looked at the links between this programme and UNDP’s access to energy programme, which has been deploying diesel engines -Multifunctional Platforms- across West Africa to create revenue and alleviate the daily chores of women in rural communities.

The programme has been operating in Cape Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, The Gambia, Liberia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique and Lesotho.

The current economic crisis has hit young people hard. According to the ILO, of the world's estimated 211 million unemployed people in 2009, nearly 40 per cent—or about 83 million—are between 15 and 24 years of age. In Africa, youth already accounted for 60% of the unemployed workforce in 2005 (to be actualized/see report ILO 2010), with women even less likely than men to have jobs. In the years leading up to 2015, Africa’s youth population is expected to increase by 36 million while the labor force is expected to grow by 22 million, reaching a total of 135 million. Youth employment will remain both an economic and a security issue for Africa, with the lack of decent livelihood opportunities as one of the driving forces behind violence or organized crime.

The Programme has been supporting countries to compile better labor and employment data; to design policies that can foster employment and business creation; to support  education,, vocational training and  sustainable sustainable enterprises creation  and to establish a platform for  social dialogue with labor unions, employers and youth organizations to promote social cohesion. The Regional network for youth employment  has been launched on Teamworks, and can be accessed through https://undp.unteamworks.org/node/62311. To access the extranet and participate in the network, please send your request to Couty Fall, Regional Coordinator Programme for Social Cohesion and Youth Employment in Sub Saharan Africa (YERP): couty.fall@undp.org.