“Skills, Youth Employment, and Jobs creation” Technical Working Group brings together, experts and policy makers in Ethiopia from East & Horn of Africa

Addis Ababa - Technical experts and policy makers from Burundi, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, under the Regional Ministerial Forum on Migration (RMFM) Chairmanship of Ethiopia have endorsed the formation of a Technical Working Group (TWG) on Skills Development, Youth Employment and Jobs Creation.

The adoption of the Joint Statement and the Terms of Reference of the TWG, was preceded by a two-day regional technical meeting of key experts from RMFM East & Horn of Africa (EHoA) Ministries of Labour, Foreign Affairs, Immigration, Gender hosted by the Government of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia, in partnership with the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM)/UN Migration, Regional Office for East and Horn of Africa and IOM Ethiopia.   

The Joint Statement, which was adopted in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, is aimed at enabling RMFM East and Horn of Africa (EHoA) Member States to share good practices, conceptualize gender-sensitive regional collaborative frameworks on safe, orderly, and humane labour migration governance and propose short, medium, and long-term recommendations relating to upskilling, re-skilling, and skills recognition as well as youth employment and jobs creation.

It is expected that improvements in skills-matching in the region, and the recognition of qualifications and competencies, will enable migrant workers, youth, and prospective migrants as well as other vulnerable populations to better integrate into the labour markets in countries of destination, and returning migrants to better reintegrate in their countries of origin. Ethical recruitment and migrant workers’ rights remain a high priority as well for all RMFM EHoA governments so that no one is left behind. 

"We cannot overstate the fact that our continent in general and our region in particular is facing considerable challenges in connection with youth welfare, unemployment, and the subsequent irregular migration that costs millions of our youth whose talents and lives are tragically wasted," said RMFM Chair Her Excellency Muferihat Kamil Ahmed, Minister of Labor and Skills, Government of Ethiopia.

An estimated 226 million young people live in Africa, making Africa the world’s youngest continent. Around 20 per cent of the 127 million people of Kenya, Rwanda, United Republic of Tanzania, and Uganda are aged between 15 and 24 and can be labelled as “youth” according to the United Nations definition. Unfortunately, youth unemployment rates in the region have remained critically high. 

IOM, th UN Migration Agency is engaging with governments and other stakeholders in the region to address high levels of youth unemployment and to find ways to provide sustainable socio-economic solutions for youth employment and jobs creation. 

Mohammed Abdiker, IOM’s Regional Director noted that “without purposeful, evidence-based policy and regional harmonization, the EHoA region will face a worsening youth unemployment rate”.

“Many young and mobile job seekers are not equipped with the requisite skills and competencies as a result of dropping out of school and the poor quality of education received,” he said. “A focus on skilling the young people would allow them not only to contribute to the economic development of other countries in the region as countries of destination, but also secure better livelihood opportunities and hence remit larger sums of money to communities of origin.” 

As a result of high unemployment levels, migration is largely conceived as a means of securing livelihood opportunities for youth in the region. Of all movements tracked in the region by IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) most of them were motivated by economic reasons. 

As such, one of the most effective ways to fight poverty, stem irregular migration flows, and boost economic development is through reducing instances of youth unemployment. Regional efforts in these areas have remained fragmented and need to be strengthened through regional cooperative efforts, such as the FCDO-UK funded Better Regional Migration Management program which guides the undertakings of the RMFM. 

The newly adopted Joint Statement and the formation of the TWG is timely and an urgent call for the region’s leaders to prioritize matching of demand and supply of labour through Labour Market Assessments and evidence-based Labour Market Information Systems (LMIS), and to recognize and make portable the qualifications and competencies of young migrant workers entering the workforce and those returning home.

The Technical Working Group meeting is funded from the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM), with support from IOM’s ‘Better Regional Migration Management (BRMM is  funded by the UK Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).

For more information, please contact Yvonne NDEGE Regional Communications & Spokesperson on M. +254797735977 and E: or

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