As a continent, Africa has vast, untapped economic potential, but young people struggle to gain access to employment opportunities - 60% of the unemployed are younger than 25 - with women being the hardest hit. Limited access to education and the practical training needed to build skills perpetuate the cycle, and the economic prospects propel young Africans to seek a better life elsewhere. This in turn further damages the local economy as especiallly poorer nations are steadily being drained of their workforce.
Laying the foundation for increased employment
In an effort to create local opportunities, in cooperation with the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the African Union launched the Skills Initiative for Africa (SIFA), providing young people with improved employment prospects through the provision of practically orientated education and training. This is done through capacity development as well as funding through the Financing Facility for Skills Development, the initiative’s dedicated funding mechanism. NIRAS has been contracted to manage SIFA from 2018 to 2022 on behalf of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), the AU’s implementing agency.
The SIFA Financing Facility provides funding for skills development projects in several African countries. Currently, these include Cameroon, Ghana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Togo, and Tunisia. Grants are allocated on a competitive basis through three different Funding Windows, and selected projects can receive grants between €0.2 and 3 million.
In the course of 2019, NIRAS organized launch events and calls for proposals for Funding Window I in seven of these countries, the last one is to follow in 2020.
to learn more about this programme and how it provides funding for skills development projects in several African countries.