Supporting entrepreneurship and employment for refugees and local communities in Khartoum

Project description

Title: Employment Initiative Khartoum: Prospects for the future of refugees and the local community
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Sudan
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning
Overall term: 2019 to 2023


The Horn of Africa has been facing various conflicts and crises for decades. Sudan, the largest country in the region, classifies as both a nexus and a peace partner in German Development Cooperation. It is also one of the least developed countries. The region’s strained history has caused large refugee inflows from its neighbouring countries, primarily Ethiopia, Eritrea, Chad, Central African Republic, and – since secession in 2011 – South Sudan. Furthermore, in the west of Sudan, large numbers of people have lost their livelihoods as a result of the conflict in Darfur, with more than 3.1 million people now internally displaced. In the east, drought, food shortages and water scarcity make life challenging for local communities. The provision of assistance to affected populations has been hindered for a variety of reasons, and close to half of the population lives below the poverty line. Many seek a better life in Khartoum, the capital, where currently one third of the Sudanese population resides (2021).

Sudan's new transitional government in Khartoum is committed to driving change and improving the situation, including that of migrants and refugees, in order to achieve livelihood security. However, for the time being, Sudan’s economy remains fragile due to political uncertainty. The economic impact of COVID-19 has led to increased prices for basic foods and commodities, rising unemployment, and falling exports. Restrictions on movement have exacerbated these effects. Inflation is on the rise and unemployment affects around a quarter of the young population. Considerable hurdles to entering the job market still remain.

Public awareness about vocational education and training (VET) presents young people with an opportunity to enter the world of work, and it has been gaining popularity. The Sudanese government promotes VET through its network of vocational training centers (VTC) and entrepreneurship centres in Khartoum State. This is a great chance for both male and female youths to access education and gain skills for the job market.


The employment conditions for refugees and the local population in Khartoum have improved.


The Employment Initiative Khartoum (EIK) promotes cooperation between the Sudanese government, vocational training institutions and the private sector (integrated approach). The aim of the project is to foster market-oriented education and develop a skilled labour force for the market. EIK is active on all three levels of capacity development, focusing on organisations and individuals. In order to improve access to practically oriented vocational education and employment, the project is working to strengthen the capacities of governmental institutions – specifically the Sudanese institutional partner Supreme Council for Vocational Training and Apprenticeship (SCVTA) – business development services, and civil society organisations. Furthermore, small businesses can qualify to receive training, mentoring and coaching through a pool of trainers, thus providing capacity-building measures to male and female entrepreneurs. An online platform will complement these efforts and aims to improve access to information on business establishment and employment in multiple languages.

Besides the above-mentioned multi-layered approach, EIK also acts integratively: The project recognises the diversity in Khartoum and within its target group (refugees from multiple origins and the hosting community including internally displaced people) and is working to reach the various groups in equal measure. Offering courses for mixed groups promotes peace and security and fosters social cohesion. For this purpose, the project grants support to tandems of members from the refugee and local population or small, diverse groups.


Last update: February 2021