Technical Working Group (TWG) on Skills, Youth Employment and Job creation Brings Together technical experts and policymakers from the East and Horn of Africa

Addis Ababa – Millions of young people in the East and Horn of Africa (EHoA) live in precarious situations, often forced to leave their home countries because of the lack of stable jobs. High levels of unemployment drive their urge to seek work abroad, usually via irregular migration.

It is in this context that the International Organization for Migration’s Regional Office (IOM/UN Migration) is bringing together a Technical Working Group of government officials in-charge of labour migration, skills development, youth employment and job creation within different ministries representing the Regional Ministerial Forum on Migration’s (RMFM) 11 Member States. The RMFM is the Regional Consultative Process (RCP) established, January 2020, to promote a united approach to safe, regular, and humane labour migration among states in the East and Horn of Arica (EHoA) region.

The two-day technical regional meeting  taking place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 19 - 20 September 2022, aims among other things to activate the technical working group of “Skills, Youth Employment and Job creation” under the auspices of RMFM and sensitize participants on conceptual frameworks good practices and regional collaborative frameworks, surrounding upskilling, re-skilling and skills recognition, cooperation with the private and public sectors as well as diaspora engagement for development. 

Youth unemployment rates have remained critically high in the continent. Around 12.7 percent of the African youth population are unemployed in 2022 and the data is nearly similar in the East and Horn of Africa region. According to government officials, every year an average of 800,000 young people entering the work market looking employment and job opportunities. Economies in the region are struggling. Some from the ravages of a decades-old conflicts, others from drought and lower rates of food production, thus reducing development prospects and consequently the supply of labour opportunities.

To add to this, in many countries, young women have a different transition to working life from that of young men – in particular, it is more protracted. Employers in many countries, irrespective of gender, display a striking preference towards hiring young men over young women, for a variety of reasons.

” Many young women are not able to enter the labour market easily or to leave earlier because of prejudices and limitations, reducing the labour force participation rates for young women,” says IOM’s Senior Regional Specialist for Labour and Social Inclusion Tatianna Hadjiemmanuel.

It is expected that improvements in skills matching in the region, and the recognition of qualifications and competencies, will enable prospective migrants to better integrate into the labour markets in countries of destination, and returning migrants to reintegrate in their countries of origin.

“As IOM, we recognize that human mobility is one of the key solutions to many challenges of our day, including development. The nexus between migration and development is inextricably tied to youth welfare.” says Regional Director Mohammed Abdiker, “With this in mind, we are working with the region’s leaders and other relevant stakeholders to ensure young people are better equipped with productive skills that match the supply and demand of the markets as well as governments will recognize portability of qualifications and competencies.”

RMFM Member States in the East and Horn of Africa, are Republic of Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Djibouti, the State of Eritrea, the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, the Republic of Kenya, the Republic of Rwanda, the Federal Republic of Somalia, the Republic of South Sudan, the Republic of the Sudan, the Republic of Uganda, and the United Republic of Tanzania. The Regional Ministerial Forum on Migration (RMFM) on Harmonizing Labour Migration Policies in East and Horn of Africa: A United Approach on Safe, Regular and Humane Labour Migration is chaired by the Ministry of Labour of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.

The coming together of this Technical Working Group has been made possible through funding from the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM), with support from IOM’s ‘Better Regional Migration Management’ (BRMM) programme, which is funded by the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). PRM works by providing protection, easing suffering, and resolving the plight of persecuted and forcibly displaced people around the world.