Africa: Stakeholders Poise to Strengthen Apprenticeship Systems in Africa – NewsEverything Africa

8 Min Read
Africa: Stakeholders Poise to Strengthen Apprenticeship Systems in Africa – NewsEverything Africa
Africa: Stakeholders Poise to Strengthen Apprenticeship Systems in Africa – NewsEverything Africa

…As WB ends regional workshop

World Bank and partners from state and non-state actors across Africa have affirmed their commitment toward the Strengthening of Apprenticeship Systems in the informal economy in Africa to promote quality, innovation and transitions to formality at a regional workshop held in Cotonou, Benin, from 22 – 24 February 2023.

In response to the invitation, the Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology (MoHERST) constituted a delegation comprising Ms. Fatou Janneh, principal Tertiary and Higher Education Officer, (MoHERST) and Ousman Sillah, chairperson of Crab Island Technical and Vocational Training Foundation (CITVETF).

The participation was fully funded by the World Bank. It attracted over 200 participants from different countries in Africa representing the relevant ministries and agencies of government, training institutions, employers’ associations, trade unions, artisans, researchers, economists as well as development partners.

During the course of the workshop, participants discussed presentations on some key thematic areas namely; Conceptual clarifications and terminologies; Understanding apprenticeship: How informal and formal institutions interact and evolve and serve as business and skills incubators; Potential apprenticeship skill needs in the informal economy; What works and how? Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) and Re-conceptualising RPL for informal apprenticeships; What works and how; Digitalisation of apprenticeship; Financing and off-the-job learning; Strong associations and quality in delivery and Building knowledge for better apprenticeship systems; as well as Strategies towards a regional program on strengthening apprenticeship in the informal economy.

Research findings, as indicated, have shown that the informal economy accounts for more than 70% of the workforce and a huge percentage of GDP in most African countries albeit the sector is yet to be formalised.

The argument is that the apprenticeship system in the informal economy, including the artisans, roadside mechanics, transformative, recycling technologies, to name a few, is characterised by the lack of standards and a framework to enable the promotion of quality, innovation and formality.

Ms. Fatou Janneh from MoHERST moderated one of the critical group work sessions on the theme: ‘Towards a regional program on strengthening apprenticeship in the informal economy’, which drew participants from government institutions across the continent.

During this session, the participants inter alia resolved to establish a Network of stakeholders from the sub-Saharan African countries to advocate for and work with governments and regional and international partners to facilitate the implementation of workshop resolutions and policies towards strengthening Apprenticeship Systems in both the formal and informal economies in Africa.

In this regard, Ousman Sillah from the Republic of The Gambia was nominated by the Nigerian delegation and unanimously endorsed to serve as the Coordinator of the Network and was tasked to create a Whatsapp page and commence the process of facilitating its establishment and operation.

Prof. Idris W. Buraje, executive Secretary of the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, was also unanimously selected to serve as chairperson of this regional Network.

The representatives of the government of the Republic of Tanzania offered to host the inaugural launch of the Network.

The high level officials who graced the opening were four cabinet ministers of the Republic of Benin, the Director General of National Technical Education and Vocational Training of Benin (ADET), Deputy Director General and ILO Regional Director for Africa, senior World Bank officials, the representatives of the International Trade Union Congress (ITUC) Africa, French Development Agency (AFD) in Benin, among others.

Welcoming the gathering, Fructueux S. Aho, director General of ADET, said the youths need jobs to survive, but cannot do this without training to acquire skills that meet the needs of the economy.

The Country Director of the French Development (AFD) in Benin, Jerome Bertrand-Hardy, indicated that informal apprenticeship should factor in policy and mainstreamed in government programmes.

He indicated that they have credit lines for enterprises.

Ms. Cynthia Samuel Olunjuwon, Deputy Director General and ILO Regional Director for Africa, noted the commitments made by governments and partners to the ILO Abidjan Declaration that supports the AU 2063 goals.

The six pillars of the Declaration, she added, supports the values for social justice and resonates with the objectives of this regional workshop. On the way forward, she indicated the need to ensure the involvement of governments in the process, upgrading of apprenticeship systems, upskilling, quality assurance, partnerships, among others.

Kouaro Yves Chabi, Minister of Secondary Technical Education and Vocational Training, the host ministry, outlined the situation of the apprenticeship system in Benin, the training and certification process as well as the challenges and the efforts of the government to address them with support from development partners.