Growing youth unemployment poses a fundamental challenge for the African continent. In total, around 60 percent of unemployed people in the region are under the age of 25. The unemployment rate for women is higher than that of men, and women are less likely to participate in the labour market, making young women most vulnerable. Even though access to quality education and appropriate job opportunities are essential for the reduction of poverty, political stability, participation, and sustainable development, educational and skills development programs with a practical orientation are hard to come by in many African countries. In the same vein, there is growing demand for market-oriented skills from both the public and private sector. In just more than a decade from now (by 2030), Africa’s labour market will need to create 20 million jobs annually to absorb the continent’s growing youthful employment seeking population.
In response to these challenges the Skills Initiative for Africa was developed. SIFA is an initiative of the African Union Commission (AUC) and the African Union Development Agency
(AUDA-NEPAD) supported by the German Government and the European Union. The aim is to promote occupational prospects of young Africans through the support of innovative skills development programs and close cooperation with the private sector as an integral and key stakeholder in the creation of jobs.
SIFA just finalized several country studies, which provides information on the economic trends and the labour markets. The study analysed the current and future patterns of economic development to identify important sectors for employment and income generation in the future. The most promising sectors and subsectors were analyst on their current ability and potential to create jobs, generate income, support growth. The information and recommendations concerning economic trends and subsectors to assess which sectors are more promising in respect to employment promotion, skills development and TVET programmes are used by SIFA and their respective partners. One of the promising sectors in Nigeria is the creative industry sector.
The 2020 World Bank publication “Orange Economy: As a Driver of Jobs for Youth” outlines the potential of youth employment programs in the creative and cultural industries. The so-called orange economy spans creative and cultural activities including art, crafts, music and fashion and is described to have “untapped potential as a driver of better and inclusive jobs, especially for young people”. One of the enabling conditions that policy makers should focus on to foster employment opportunities in the orange economy involves the improvement of data on the creative and cultural sectors. Thus, SIFA, in collaboration with GIZ-SKYE and GFA Consulting Group engaged a consultant team to carry out an assessment of the Orange Economy sector in Nigeria. Following the delivery and approval of the draft final evaluation report on the employment and labour assessment in Nigeria‘s creative industries, two webinars were planned and executed (with the SKYE program).
There has been a growing interest within the GIZ-SKYE project to look into implementing trainings and having more rounds tables with stakeholders in the creative industry to space to see how we can make an impact on the lives of young Nigerians.