AfricaWorking, a new private sector initiative committed to impacting Africa on employability and entrepreneurship skills, says its agenda is to support 200,000 youth and 50,000 entrepreneurs by 2020.
The new group consists private companies like Microsoft, Barclays Africa, Emerging World, FranklinCovey, Knod, Safal Group and Syngenta, with the objective of channeling their collective powers to create job opportunities across Africa.
ReStraL Ltd, a company founded in 1996 by a former Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Ifueko Omogui-Okauru, represents one of the firms, FranklinCovey, in Nigeria and other parts of English speaking Africa.
“Most large corporations are looking at youth skills development in one form or another, because it’s important to their business.
“The idea behind AfricaWorking is to bring these corporations together, align their efforts, share their learnings and build human capital on a pan-Africa scale,” Dean of the Microsoft 4Afrika Academy, Lutz Ziob, explained in a statement.
General Manager, Enterprise Development: Citizenship for Barclays Africa, Charles Reed, projects that by 2045, Africa’s labour market would be the biggest in the world, pointing out that it presented a huge opportunity for the group to engage the youth, help them develop relevant skills and find meaningful employment opportunities.
Mr. Reed said key to the effort to realize the agenda was for members of AfricaWorking to collaborate and leverage technology where it makes sense to do so.
“The initiative will leverage existing approaches and two bespoke ‘engines’ to help get youth career- and business-ready, and create a pipeline of recruitable talent for member companies,” he said.
The initial platforms, Mr. Reed noted, would be to leverage YouthWorks, a Microsoft employability platform linking youth to career guidance, internships and entry-level job opportunities.
The other, he said, would be the use of an employability platform powered by Knod that gives AfricaWorking members the opportunity to shape the real world projects that form the basis of the innovative learning model.
“There is currently a significant mismatch between the skills youth have and the skills employers are looking for. Our goal is to connect learners and employers in a unique 21st Century experience-based learning model, which develops skilled youth and an energized workforce of competent employees,” says CEO/Founder of Knod, Graham Doxey.
AfricaWorking, which is starting in Kenya and South Africa, aims to explore how collaboration could support human capital development across Africa by 2020.
The companies in the group have identified the objective of ensuring that young people were ready for work and to scale entrepreneurship
The group intends to leverage a common electronic platform that would help drive reach and scale; incorporate a systemic process to ensure that there was ‘user’ engagement and enable all interested companies to participate and build on existing resources.
AfricaWorking members say they have identified that small/medium enterprises and startups need additional support to ensure they can take advantage of the growth Africa promises, and member companies depend on having dynamic entrepreneurs within their value chains to be successful.