Promoting occupational prospects for young Africans

Skills Initiative for Africa

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  • Commissioning Party

    German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)

  • Country
  • Lead executing agency


  • Overall term

    2016 to 2025

  • Products and expertise

    Economic Development and Employment


Growing youth unemployment poses a fundamental challenge for the African continent. In total, around 60 per cent of unemployed people are under the age of 25. Young women are especially affected. Access to quality education and appropriate job opportunities are essential for progress. They help to reduce poverty, improve political stability, promote participation and long-term development. However, educational programmes with a practical orientation are hard to come by in many African countries. The lack of educational opportunities results in poor personal and occupational prospects and is one of the reasons why many young people choose to leave their home country in search of a more prosperous future elsewhere.


The dissemination of innovative approaches towards developing employment-oriented skills is improving in Africa.


The African Union Commission (AUC) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) established the Skills Initiative for Africa (SIFA) in 2016 in response to these challenges. 

The programme aims to facilitate a continental dialogue on employment-oriented skills development with strong involvement of the private sector. Good practice approaches are gathered from and disseminated among African countries in order to improve the quality, access to and relevance of skills development projects. Exchange and dialogue take place through the African Skills Portal for Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship (ASPYEE) and platforms like Africa Creates Jobs (ACJ). The acquired knowledge also informs investment decisions of the SIFA Finance Facility, which operates in eight pilot countries. It funds innovative employment-oriented skills development projects following a competitive application process. The SIFA Finance Facility is supported by the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KFW).

Last Update: May 2023

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