African countries must develop a standardized educational framework to enable transfer of skills to member countries which would help the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) succeed tremendously, Mavis Owusu Gyamfi, Executive Vice President of the African Center for Economic Transformation Center (ACET), has said.
This, she explained, would deepen regional collaboration for youth labor, expertise and expand job opportunities for the growing economic market. “We need to create and enforce a common framework to mutually recognize the substantive equivalence of accreditation systems, programmes and educational certificates across all participating countries,” she said.
Giving the keynote address at the Youth Connekt Summit in Accra, Ms. Gyamfi indicated that by 2050, one in every four people on the earth will be an African, and this can either be an opportunity or a treat based on how it is properly harnessed.
She further called for the need to prioritize acts and conventions that will push this agenda while also bemoaning the situation where a graduate from an African country cannot use their certificates in another.
“We need to prioritize effective implementation of frameworks such as the ECOWAS convention on the recognition and equivalence of degrees, diplomas, certificates and other qualifications and the AU’s African Continental Qualifications Framework (ACQF),” she added.
Not enough jobs, not enough skills
In her speech, she said most of Africa’s young people today do not have the technical skills and core competencies to secure jobs in rapidly changing job markets.
“A recent ACET study on the failure of work covering six African countries (Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Niger, Rwanda, and Uganda) noted that a significant proportion of young people are missing out on employment opportunities because they do not have the necessary skills. At least 20 percent of secondary school graduates in all six countries required additional training in ICT literacy, leadership skills, communication skills and problem solving,” she emphasized.
She added that Africa is not creating enough jobs to absorb new entrants into the labour force and that more jobs need to be created. “We need to create at least 1million decent jobs each month to ensure our new entrants into the job market can be gainfully employed. We are currently creating 3.1million jobs per annum, leaving majority unemployed,” she bemoaned.
Labour Market Information System (LMIS)
One of the solutions to the growing problem, she proffered is the establishment of a regional Labour Market Information System (LMIS) which she believes would accelerate youth labour mobility and skills development.
“This will be an African-wide skills database that enables companies to search for the skills and people they need, regardless of where they live. To set up a regional system, individual countries will need to invest in and strengthen their own labour market information system that aggregates intelligence on the skills available today and the skills needed in future.”
This, she explained, will pave a way to search for and reach out to people with the skills they need regardless of their location.
She reiterated that the economic rationale for talent mobility is that skilled labour would be able to move to where it is most needed to balance the region’s human capital markets, improve competitiveness and stimulate economic growth adding that this will “enable us build centers of excellence across the continent that can compete globally.”
This, she added, will also ensure that by 2050, not only will “we represent the largest regional market in the world but we will also have the labour force to produce for the other regions whose populations will either be stabilizing or declining.”