Digital marketplace offers training for young people in Africa

Innovative solutions to global challenges: The digital platform Yoma provides education and networking opportunities for young people in Africa.

According to recent figures published by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), more than 20 per cent of 15- to 24-year-olds in Africa are without work. A lack of access to training, insufficient work experience and limited financial resources are just some of the reasons for this. The coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the situation. The ILO reports that more than 20 million people in Africa lost their jobs last year. Early in 2020, in response to the crisis, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the European Commission launched the first #SmartDevelopmentHack, which is implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. The aim of the competition was to find innovative digital approaches to overcoming the challenges of the coronavirus outbreak. The digital marketplace of opportunities Yoma (short for Youth Agency Marketplace) was among the nine winning projects.

Platform promotes social participation and individual training

Yoma seeks to enable young people in Africa to participate actively in economic and social life and boost skills that are needed on the labour market. To achieve this, the digital platform offers a wide range of free opportunities for training and interaction, such as participating in local and global ideas competitions, courses and learning programmes. Young people can pursue individual learning objectives and record them in a digital CV, which they can access anywhere, at any time. At the same time, a virtual network between young people, civil society, investors, employers and educational institutions is being developed. Initial figures are promising: Since the platform was launched in July 2020, more than 250,000 young people in Africa have taken part in what the platform has to offer.

One of them is 29-year-old Yusuf Yahaya from Nigeria. After completing his degree, Yahaya started a company that advises small businesses on how to farm fish and seafood profitably and sustainably. At first, he recalls, his business activities were slow and limited to the local level. He lacked a mentor to help him tackle the challenges of self-employment, so he registered with Yoma and received training in entrepreneurship and business development. ‘The engagement with youth toward skills and capacity development is great and enables us to shape the future of young people positively’, explains Yusuf Yahaya.

Yoma also has ambitious goals: The aim is for 1.5 million young people around the world to use the platform by the end of 2021. Yoma is connected to the infrastructure of the learning platform atingi, which GIZ developed on behalf of the BMZ in 2019. This shows how long-term development cooperation projects go hand-in-hand with new, innovative ideas.