ILO strengthens capacities of Sub-Saharan African Skills and Apprenticeship Stakeholders Network (SASASNET)

The workshop was attended by 91 SASASNET members drawn from some English speaking Sub-Saharan African countries including Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone, The Gambia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Mauritius, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, Eswatini, Lesotho and South Africa

Press release | 18 December 2023

Key information

Dr. Vanessa Lerato Phala, ILO Country Office Director for Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone and liaison for ECOWAS has pledged the support and commitment of the ILO to the course of Sub-Saharan African Skills and Apprenticeship Stakeholders Network (SASASNET). She said this when she opened a two-day regional capacity building workshop for members of SASASNET in Accra, Ghana.

The Sub-Saharan Africa Skills and Apprenticeship Stakeholders Network (SASASNET) is a newly formed regional organization which was formally launched by His Excellency Kashim Shettima, Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, with the unveiling of the Network’s logo and maiden conference/workshop held at the Continental Hotel in Abuja, from 23 - 25 July, 2023.

Context/Situation

In the framework of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 for inclusive and sustainable growth throughout the continent, investing in the capacitation of professionals and practitioners working in skills development helps the approach of employment creation. In addition, the Continental strategy for TVET provides a framework for intervention and support. This is also closely complemented by the Continental Education Strategy for Africa (CESA 2016-25).

Moreover, ILO’s Abidjan Declaration, “Advancing Social Justice: Shaping the Future of Work in Africa”, which was adopted in the ILO’s 14th African Regional Meeting held in Abidjan in December 2019 provide guidance to ILO’s work in the region. With a focus on a human-centred approach and in line with the ILO’s Strategy on Skills and Lifelong Learning 2030 as well as ILO’s joint report with the African Development Bank on building pathways to sustainable growth by strengthening TVET in Africa, which focuses on resilient skills policies and systems, this workshop will contribute to promoting inclusive skills development opportunities in the region.

In line with its objectives of standardizing, promoting, coordinating and supporting the skills and apprenticeship agenda in Africa, the SASASNET seeks to play a pivotal role in shaping the future of the workforce through the enhancement of skills and apprenticeship development in the Africa region. It acknowledges the need to secure the full support of Member Country Governments and development organizations/partners.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) has supported Sub-Saharan African Skills and Apprenticeship Stakeholders Network (SASASNET) to roll-out a 2-day “African Regional Capacity Building Workshop on Recognition of Prior Learning and Sector Skills Bodies” in Accra, Ghana. The workshop was attended by 91 SASASNET members drawn from some English speaking Sub-Saharan African countries including Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone, The Gambia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Mauritius, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, Eswatini, Lesotho and South Africa. In addition, members of the Construction, Transport & Logistics, Beauty & Wellness, Tourism & Hospitality and Agriculture Sector Skills Bodies in Ghana as well as staff of Commission for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (CTVET) and Ghana Technical and Vocational Education and Training Service (GTVETS) participated in the session.

Participants of the Workshop
The workshop aims to enhance the capacity of policymakers, regulators, members of skills councils, TVET authorities and training providers, social partners, practitioners, and experts on global initiatives and best practices in RPL and Sector Skills Councils/Bodies. The specific objectives of the two-day capacity-building workshop are to build the capacity and increase knowledge of policy makers, regulators, members of skills councils and TVET Training providers, practitioners, and experts on global best practices in RPL and Sector Skills Councils/Bodies, share knowledge and experiences on establishing and functioning existing sector skills bodies and RPL systems, share best practices and standards to guide and inform the formulation of national and international policies on RPL and sector skills bodies and sensitise stakeholders on the objectives and operations of SASASNET.

Dr. Vanessa Phala
Dr. Vanessa Lerato Phala, ILO Country Office Director for Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone and liaison for ECOWAS announced that the ILO’s Global Programme on Skills and Lifelong Learning funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) will work with CTVET to consolidate the gains made towards the establishment and operationalization of SSBs and roll-out of RPL in Ghana and the sub-Saharan African region. She noted “It is gratifying to note that through collaboration with CTVET and GIZ, the ILO provided technical support towards the development of the framework for establishing SSBs in Ghana. The framework prescribed among others the terms of reference and membership of the SSBs. This framework has been used to successfully pilot the establishment and operationalization of SSBs for the agriculture, construction and tourism & hospitality sectors in 2019. I am delighted to note that through our collaborative efforts with CTVET in the lead, 12 SSBs have been established to date namely Agriculture, Construction, Tourism & Hospitality, Oil & Gas, Information Communication Technology, Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals, Transport & Logistics, Apparel, Textiles & Garments, Automotive, Beauty & Wellness and Renewable Energy. Using the ILO’s tool of Skills for Trade and Economic Diversification (STED), the SKILL UP project has supported the development of Skills Strategies for the first 10 out of the 12 established SSBs with funding provided by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD)”.

Mr. David Prah
Mr. David Prah, Deputy Director General of the Ghana Technical and Vocational Education and Training Service, who represented the Minister of Education underscored the important role of SASASNET in transforming the skills development landscape towards the much-needed industrialization of the African continent. “Through our joint collaborative efforts, TVET can serve as a catalyst for providing employment and decent jobs for the teaming youth of the African continent” he noted. He also thanks the ILO for the technical support that has crystalized in the establishment of the SSBs which has bridged the gap between industry and academia. “Through the establishment of SSBs, captains of industry are now fully engaged in the development of occupational standards and curriculum for some trade areas. This is a good development in facilitating the paradigm shift to a demand-driven skills development in Ghana” he added.

Hon. Ousman Sillah
In his closing remarks, the Secretary General of SASASNET, Hon. Ousman Sillah noted that the ILO being the leading partner SASASNET will continue to be the leading partner to perpetuity even if others come later with huge resources. He noted further that given such partnerships, SASASNET can be the ‘game changer’ of the narrative on the African continent. He thanked the ILO for supporting the maiden activity of SASASNET and looked forward to more technical and financial support for its activities. He finally called on other donor partners to emulate the shining example of the ILO.

Ms. Eyerusalem Fasika
Ms. Eyerusalem Fasika, Country Manager of African Development Bank – Ghana made particular reference to the collaboration between ILO and the Bank in the area of skills development which she noted falls squarely within the mandate of the bank. “The African Development Bank will by extension work with SASASNET towards the attainment of its aims and objectives” she noted. “Our doors are opened to SASASNET to further engage the Bank to collectively deliver programmes that address the skills gaps and mismatches phenomenon on the continent” she further noted.

The 2-day capacity building workshop was facilitated by Dr. Ashwani Aggarwal (ILO Global Workgroup Leader -Skills Policy, Systems and Digitalization), Mr. Martin-Christian Kent (CEO, Martin-Christian Kent Consultancy), Mr. Ved Mani Tiwari (CEO, National Skills Development Corporation - India), Mr. Thabo Mashongoane (CEO, MQA, South Africa) Dr. Kaylash Allgoo (Former Director Mauritius Qualification Authority) Dr. Daniel Baffour-Awuah (Former Director of CTVET – Ghana), Mrs. Deborah Danquah Freeman (Executive Secretary, Informal Economy Workers’ Forum, Ghana), Mr. Frank Kwasi Adetor (National Project Coordinator – ILO Global Programme on Skills and Lifelong Learning, Ms. Livia Husmann (Employment Department Skills Branch, Skills Policy, Systems & Digitalization) and Mrs. Elsie Amo (ILO Global Programme on Skills and Lifelong Learning).

The SKILL-UP/Global Program on Skills and Lifelong Learning is implemented by the Skills and Employability Branch of the ILO and funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD). The project since its inception in 2018 has supported the establishment and operationalization of SSBs in Ghana. The SSBs play a crucial role in bridging the gap between skills demand and supply within a specific sector. These organizations bring together essential stakeholders, such as employers, workers' organizations, enterprises, and educational and training institutions, to identify and address the sector's skills needs.

The Sub-Saharan African Skills and Apprenticeship Stakeholders Network (SASASNET) is a regional network which is aimed at promoting, coordinating, and supporting Africa’s skill and apprenticeship agenda.