Governments, workers’ and employers’ organizations validate the AU-ILO youth employment strategy for Africa

A collaborative effort between the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the African Union Commission (AUC), YES-Africa is a guiding framework to shape the future world of work for the continent's youth.

Press release | 12 December 2023
Participants of the AU-ILO youth employment strategy for Africa validation workshop in Nairobi
Participants of the AU-ILO youth employment strategy for Africa validation workshop in Nairobi
(ILO News – Kenya) In a significant stride towards addressing the burgeoning youth employment challenges in Africa, government, workers’ and employers’ organizations as well as young people validated the AU-ILO Youth Employment Strategy for Africa, dubbed ‘YES-Africa’. The two-day validation meeting brought together more than 100 participants on 11 and 12 December in Nairobi, as well as virtually.

A collaborative effort between the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the African Union Commission (AUC), YES-Africa is a guiding framework to shape the future world of work for the continent's youth. The strategic framework calls for investment in transforming the world of work in Africa, focussing on creating decent jobs for the continent's youth population.

The Strategy recommends priority actions across key policy areas, offering strategic guidance to pave a way forward towards transforming Africa’s economies and societies. YES-Africa places particular emphasis on social justice and socio-economic inclusion, which ensures that vulnerable youth populations, including women, persons with disabilities, migrants, refugees, and those in fragile and conflict-affected settings, are provided access to decent and productive jobs.

With YES-Africa, we are taking a step towards shaping the future of work in Africa."

Farid Hegazy, ILO Senior Specialist on Employers' Activities

Farid Hegazy, ILO Senior Specialist on Employers' Activities, acknowledged the significance of the strategy, stating, "With YES-Africa, we are taking a step towards shaping the future of work in Africa." Hegazy emphasized the potential of Africa’s youth growth.

Sabelo Mbokazi, AUC Head of Division for Labour, Employment and Migration, underscored the consultative nature of the strategy, stating, "This strategy seeks to define a roadmap towards the eradication of barriers to youth employment." He recognized the partnership with ILO and the invaluable input of member states, tripartite partners, and youth at the core of these discussions.

The YES-Africa strategy results from extensive co-creation and collaboration, incorporating the insights of youth organizations, AU member state representatives, and workers’ and employers’ organizations. In October 2023, AUC and ILO conducted a virtual tripartite consultative meeting in which more than 120 participants from AU member states refined an initial draft of the Strategy.

This strategy seeks to define a roadmap towards the eradication of barriers to youth employment."

Sabelo Mbokazi, AUC Head of Division for Labour, Employment and Migration

Meaningfully engaging young people is critical in the development of YES-Africa, including through consultations and co-creation opportunities with youth-led organizations across the continent. Following its validation, the Strategy will now be submitted to the AU Specialized Technical Committee on Social Development, Labour and Employment for consideration and adoption.