Powering Youth Employment through the Mobile Industry in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2025 - Spotlight on Ghana, Senegal and Nigeria - GSMA

Powering Youth Employment through the Mobile Industry in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2025 - Spotlight on Ghana, Senegal and Nigeria - GSMA
Powering Youth Employment through the
Mobile Industry in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2025
Spotlight on Ghana, Senegal and Nigeria
               COPYRIGHT © GSM ASSOCIATION 2020
Powering Youth Employment through the Mobile Industry in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2025 - Spotlight on Ghana, Senegal and Nigeria - GSMA
GSMA Mobile for Development

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                                                and team
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                                                January 2020
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Powering Youth Employment through the Mobile Industry in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2025 - Spotlight on Ghana, Senegal and Nigeria - GSMA
Executive Summary

    The mobile industry will continue        The ‘skills gap’ is the greatest         The mobile industry has a role
    to be a significant job creator for      challenge for youth seeking              to play in supporting youth
    youth in Sub‑Saharan Africa              employment in the mobile                 employment journeys
                                             industry in Sub-Saharan Africa
    • Sub-Saharan Africa has the largest                                              • The mobile industry has a role to
      growing youth population in the        • Ineffective education systems and        play in not only creating jobs, but
      world. This increasingly educated        a disconnect between industries          also in supporting youth through
      but inadequately skilled workforce       and educational institutions has         their employment journeys.
      poses a challenge for economies          created a ‘skills gap’ for youth in      This includes bridging the skills
      that must not only generate more         the region.                              gap, providing lifelong learning
      jobs, but also support youth in                                                   and training opportunities,
                                             • Behavioural and digital skills, the
      their employment journeys.                                                        and ensuring decent working
                                               most in-demand skills across all
    • The mobile industry in                   job levels, are also in the shortest
      Sub-Saharan Africa directly              supply, indicating a critical skills   • In the short term, the industry can
      employed 1.2 million youth in 2018,      gap.                                     engage with youth by improving
      and this number is expected to                                                    access and raising awareness
                                             • Other barriers to youth
      grow to 1.5 million by 2025. This                                                 about job opportunities in the
                                               employment include the expenses
      growth will be driven primarily by                                                industry, implementing more
                                               associated with skill development
      increased network coverage,                                                       inclusive HR practices and
                                               and job searches, progressing
      smartphone penetration and                                                        considering social incentives to
                                               in their careers, poor human
      mobile services innovation, all of                                                benefit informal workers.
                                               resource practices, and challenges
      which are expected to create jobs
                                               specific to vulnerable groups,         • Long-term strategies include
      by increasing demand for existing
                                               including women, persons with            supporting youth upskilling
      and new mobile services.
                                               disabilities and rural youth.            programmes developed in
    • However, over two-thirds of these                                                 collaboration with educational
      jobs will be in the informal sector,                                              institutions, development
      a challenge to ensuring decent                                                    organisations and other tech
      and quality employment for youth.                                                 organisations. The industry
                                                                                        can also accelerate support for
                                                                                        entrepreneurship in the broader
                                                                                        ecosystem through incubators
                                                                                        active in the region.

Powering Youth Employment through the Mobile Industry in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2025 - Spotlight on Ghana, Senegal and Nigeria - GSMA
Research objectives
        and scope

Youth employment in Sub-Saharan Africa       Context

The mobile industry   A job creation catalyst for youth in Sub-Saharan Africa

Youth employment      The ‘skills gap’ and other barriers

Youth employment      A roadmap for the mobile industry

Country profiles   Ghana, Senegal and Nigeria

Powering Youth Employment through the Mobile Industry in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2025 - Spotlight on Ghana, Senegal and Nigeria - GSMA
Research objectives and scope

              Research                             Summary of
              objectives                           methodology

    This research aims to reveal the         Information collected, analysed and
    direct employment potential              presented in this research comes
    of the mobile industry in three          from three sources:
    markets: Ghana, Senegal and
                                             • 45 key informant interviews with
    Nigeria. It explores contextual issues
                                               mobile operators and industry
    surrounding youth employment
                                               experts, youth employment
    in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) by
                                               organisations, universities,
                                               investment funds, innovation hubs
    • Current and future contribution          and digital platforms.
      of the mobile industry to job
                                             • A two-day workshop held in
                                               Accra in November 2019 with this
    • Barriers youth encounter in their        expert group to create a roadmap
      employment journey; and                  for the mobile industry to create
                                               quality jobs for youth in the
    • The role of the mobile industry in
      fostering quality and decent work
      opportunities for youth.               • Desk-based research on quality
                                               job creation for African youth.

Powering Youth Employment through the Mobile Industry in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2025 - Spotlight on Ghana, Senegal and Nigeria - GSMA
Research objectives and scope

        Youth employment
        in Sub-Saharan Africa
The mobile industry   A job creation catalyst for youth in Sub-Saharan Africa

Youth employment      The ‘skills gap’ and other barriers

Youth employment      A roadmap for the mobile industry

Country profiles   Ghana, Senegal and Nigeria

Powering Youth Employment through the Mobile Industry in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2025 - Spotlight on Ghana, Senegal and Nigeria - GSMA
Youth population is growing at unprecedented levels

                                         Sub-Saharan Africa has the largest growing                                                        Education levels are set to improve
Youth employment in Sub-Saharan Africa

                                         youth population in the world. In the last couple
                                                                                                                                           • 52 per cent of Africa’s total workforce is expected
                                         of decades, the youth population has grown by
                                                                                                                                             to have at least a secondary education by 2030
                                         70 per cent in the region to reach 366 million in 2019.1
                                                                                                                                             (versus 36 per cent in 2010).3
                                         This is expected to grow by 17 per cent in the next
                                         five years and nearly double by 2050.2                                                            • However, the education system is perceived as low
                                                                                                                                             quality by students and employers, and is failing
                                                                                                                                             to meet the needs of the changing economy. The
                                         Figure 1 SSA youth population growth (aged 15–34)
                                                                                                                                             likely shift in the nature of work in the region will put
                                                                                                          2050                               additional strain on an already inadequate education
                                                                                                               70% 729m                      system.

                                                                                                                                           Figure 2 Quality of Africa’s education systems

                                                                                                                              17% 430m
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         3.8 world average


                                                                                                                                            Quality rating, 1–7 (best)
                                                                                                                      70% 366m
                                                   300                                                                                                                   3



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          South Africa





                                                    1940      1960           1980          2000           2020           2040       2060



                                         Source International Labour Organisation                                                          Source World Economic Forum

                                         1	United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division.                3	These statistics refer to all of Africa, not just the Sub-Saharan countries. World Economic Forum (WEF) (May 2017), The Future
                                            World Population Prospects                                                                        of Jobs and Skills in Africa: Preparing the Region for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Data sourced from Lutz et al., IIASA/VID
                                                                                                                                              Educational Attainment Model, GET Projection, Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital
        7                                2	Ibid.
Powering Youth Employment through the Mobile Industry in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2025 - Spotlight on Ghana, Senegal and Nigeria - GSMA
Lack of quality formal employment is a big challenge

                                         The emergence of an educated but underskilled                                 Figure 3 Non-agricultural informal employment by world regions
Youth employment in Sub-Saharan Africa

                                         workforce presents an opportunity to stimulate                                Sub-Saharan Africa
                                         local innovation and economic growth. However, it is
                                         challenging for economies to generate more jobs for
                                         this increasingly educated workforce.                                                                                                77%

                                         Lack of formal employment opportunities
                                         in Sub‑Saharan Africa has made informal
                                         employment the norm. The International Labour                                 World

                                         Organisation (ILO) estimates over 75 per cent4 of all
                                         non‑agricultural employment in 2018 was informal.                                                                         61%
                                         Ninety-five per cent of youth aged 15–24 years
                                         are employed in the informal sector. This is due to
                                         underdeveloped social security systems in the region
                                                                                                                       Asia Pacific
                                         that oblige youth to take up any form of employment
                                         to meet basic living standards.5
                                         Lack of opportunities for highly skilled workers
                                         is leading to migration. The lack of quality
                                         opportunities in countries of origin and relatively long
                                         transitions from school to work have increased. In                            Americas
                                         2017, about 23 million people from Sub‑Saharan Africa
                                         lived outside their country of origin, accounting for
                                         over 90 per cent of total migrants from the African
                                         continent.6 The lack of high-quality jobs and the
                                         prevalence of working poverty are also driving rural-
                                         urban migration within the region.                                            Europe and Central Asia

                                         The challenges are worse for vulnerable groups, such
                                         as women, rural youth and persons with disabilities                                          21%

                                         (PWDs), who tend to face discrimination in access to
                                         education and other services from a young age.
                                                                                                                       Source International Labour Organisation

                                         4	ILO, Women and Men in the Informal Economy, A statistical Picture (2018)
                                         5  Ibid.
        8                                6  Ibid.
Powering Youth Employment through the Mobile Industry in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2025 - Spotlight on Ghana, Senegal and Nigeria - GSMA
Research objectives and scope

Youth employment in Sub-Saharan Africa       Context

        The mobile industry
        A job creation catalyst for
        youth in Sub-Saharan Africa
Youth employment      The ‘skills gap’ and other barriers

Youth employment      A roadmap for the mobile industry

Country profiles   Ghana, Senegal and Nigeria

The mobile industry is a significant job creator in
                                     Sub‑Saharan Africa

                                     • With 456 million unique mobile subscribers and contributing 8.6 per cent
Employment through mobile industry

                                       to GDP, the mobile industry has a huge footprint in Sub‑Saharan Africa.7                                                                  What about indirect employment?
                                                                                                                                                                                 The value created by other sectors that purchase
                                     • In 2018, the industry employed 1.9 million people directly and over
                                                                                                                                                                                 materials and services from providers in the mobile
                                       2.4 million in the broader mobile ecosystem.8                                                                                             industry’s supply chain has an indirect multiplier
                                     • The majority of formal sector jobs are in the distribution and retail sector                                                              effect. Employment created under this category is
                                                                                                                                                                                 classified as ‘indirect employment’.
                                       (61 per cent, 420,000 jobs), followed by infrastructure and network
                                       providers/device manufacturers (20 per cent, 140,000 jobs), mobile                                                                        In 2018, indirect employment in the mobile industry
                                       network operators (15 per cent, 110,000 jobs) and content, application and                                                                represented approximately 2.4 million jobs.
                                                                                                                                                                                 This could increase to 2.8 million jobs by 2025.
                                       service providers (4 per cent, 30,000 jobs).
                                                                                                                                                                                 This study focuses solely on direct employment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1,200                 1,900

                                     Figure 4 1 .9 million direct jobs in the mobile industry in SSA
                                                   (number of jobs, thousands)


                                                                                                                             140                            30                  700

                                                        110                                                                                                                     37%

                                                Mobile network                       Distributors                  Infrastructure and                    Content,        Total formal sector   Total informal sector   Total formal and
                                                  operators                          and retailers                network providers/                  application and                                                  informal sectors
                                                                                                                 device manufacturers                service providers
                                     Source Estimates by Archipel and Co. based on data in GSMA Mobile Economy Sub-Saharan Africa reports (2018, 2019)

                                     7	GSMA, The Mobile Economy Sub-Saharan Africa (2019)
                                     8  Estimates by Archipel and Co. based on data in GSMA Mobile Economy Sub-Saharan Africa reports (2018, 2019)
This job creation will continue, and informal jobs will
                                     continue to dominate in the future

                                     • As of 2018, three out of five people (1.2 million) directly                                           • By 2025, total direct employment in the sector is expected
Employment through mobile industry

                                       employed by the mobile industry work in the informal sector,                                            to grow by 26 per cent, accounting for 2.4 million jobs,
                                       predominantly associated with informal distribution                                                     500,000 of which will be new jobs. The split between the
                                       (e.g. airtime resellers). Meanwhile, the formal sector employs                                          formal and informal sector is expected to remain until 2025,
                                       nearly 700,000 people.                                                                                  with the informal sector expected to employ 1.5 million people.
                                                                                                                                               The formal distribution and retail sector will account for the
                                                                                                                                               largest proportion of formal jobs (530,000 direct jobs) in 2025.

                                     Figure 5 C
                                               hange in mobile industry employment in SSA                                                   Figure 6 C
                                                                                                                                                       hange in direct formal employment in the mobile industry in SSA
                                                 (thousands)                                                                                             (thousands)


                                                                                                                                                                      700                                                530

                                                             1,200                                                                                               420

                                                                                                                      900                                                   140                                130
                                                              700                                                                                       110

                                                             2018                                                    2025                                            2018                                                    2025
                                         Direct formal             Direct informal                                                               Direct formal (total)
                                                                                                                                                 Mobile network operators             Distributors and retailer (formal)
                                                                                                                                                 Infrastructure and network providers/device manufacturers
                                                                                                                                                 Content, application and service providers
                                     Source Estimates by Archipel and Co. based on data in GSMA Mobile Economy Sub-Saharan Africa reports   Source E
                                                                                                                                                     stimates by Archipel and Co. based on data in GSMA Mobile Economy Sub-Saharan Africa reports
                                             (2018, 2019)                                                                                           (2018, 2019)

Majority of future jobs in formal sector will require
                                     middle‑level skills

                                     Most jobs created by 2025 are predicted to be low-skilled jobs                                                        In the formal sector, 65 per cent of jobs created will be
Employment through mobile industry

                                     in the informal sector                                                                                                middle‑skilled jobs
                                     By 2025, 1.5 million people will be employed in the informal                                                          • The industry will create 130,000 middle-skilled jobs, including
                                     sector (as per Figure 7), one million of whom will be youth                                                             72,000 for youth, such as call centre technicians, sales and
                                     (as per Figure 6). Almost all these jobs, including newly                                                               distribution teams and IT technicians or network deployment teams.
                                     created ones, will be low-skilled jobs, such as mobile money
                                                                                                                                                           • 40,000 high-skilled jobs will be created, such as data analysts,
                                     sales agents or airtime retailers.
                                                                                                                                                             pricing teams, project managers, product managers, engineers
                                                                                                                                                             and accountants. Youth will occupy 21,000 of these jobs.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Job types by skill level
                                     Figure 7 Direct formal jobs created by 2025 by level of qualification (thousands)
                                      Low-skilled                                                                                                                                             • Low-skilled jobs: require almost
                                                                                                                                                                                                no qualification and can be learned
                                                                                                                                                                                                through experience or on-the-job
                                           17             13             30,000                                                                                                                 (e.g. airtime resellers, street hawkers
                                                                                                                                                                                                selling mobile services).

                                                                                                                                                                                              • Middle-skilled jobs: require at least
                                                                                                                                                                                                training to occupy skilled or semi-skilled
                                                                                                                                                                                                job positions (e.g. web technicians,
                                                                    72                                                                58                                 130,000                technical support advisor, sales
                                                                                                                                                                                                assistant, customer services advisor,
                                                                                                                                                                                                marketing assistant).

                                                                                                                                                                                              • High-skilled jobs: require qualification
                                      High-skilled                                                                                                                                              usually acquired through tertiary
                                                                               Total                                                                                                            education that implies an understanding
                                             21                  19              40,000                                                                                                         of interrelated issues and concerns.
                                                                                                                                                                                                These jobs also involve responsibilities
                                                                                                                                                                                                in management/executive teams
                                                                                                                                                                                                (e.g. marketing manager, business
                                     0                                              50                                              100                                               150       intelligence manager, data analyst, HR
                                         Workforce 15–34 (youth)                     Workforce aged 34+                                                                                         manager, network engineer).

                                     Source Estimates by Archipel and Co. based on data in GSMA Mobile Economy Sub-Saharan Africa reports (2018, 2019), ILO/ UN statistics and assessments
                                             obtained through interviews with industry experts.

Youth will account for nearly 70 per cent of direct
                                     employment in the mobile industry by 2025

                                     • The mobile industry employed 1.2 million youth in 2018, nearly two thirds
Employment through mobile industry

                                       (800,000) in the informal sector and the other third in the formal sector.
                                     • By 2025, the mobile industry is expected to directly employ 1.5 million
                                       youth and create 300,000 new jobs. About a million of these jobs will be
                                       in the informal sector and 500,000 in the formal sector.

                                     Figure 8     Youth employment in the mobile industry in SSA (thousands)




                                                                       2018                                                                        2025

                                         Direct formal youth jobs                   Direct informal youth jobs
                                     Source Estimates by Archipel and Co. based on data in GSMA Mobile Economy Sub-Saharan Africa reports (2018, 2019) and ILO/UN statistics

Factors likely to affect job creation in the mobile industry
                                     until 2025

                                     • We have identified seven trends (henceforth called drivers                                                          How were the drivers identified?
Employment through mobile industry

                                       of employment change) likely to have a significant impact                                                           1 A preliminary list of drivers was identified through rigorous
                                       on growth in the the mobile industry, as well as the type and                                                         literature reviews.
                                       number of employment opportunities available in the region by                                                       2 Further insights were gathered from subject matter
                                       2025.                                                                                                                 experts from the mobile industry and broader ecosystem.

                                     • These include factors directly related to the industry’s core                                                       3 The shortlisted drivers were then validated in a two-day
                                                                                                                                                             workshop with industry experts.
                                       business and to the business environment (see table below).

                                                                                                                                                                        Restrictive regulation limits industry
                                                                                                                                                                        development, particularly the provision of
                                                                       In SSA, 3G and 4G coverage will be key                                                           financial services, competition and licence
                                                     Increased                                                                                     Enabling
                                                                       connectivity accelerators by 2025. Coverage                                                      attribution and renewal. Enabling laws can
                                                     network           will contribute to improving mobile technology                              regulation           foster business activity and encourage new
                                                     coverage          access through upgrades of existing networks                                                     partnerships between the industry and other
                                                                       and by serving previously unserved areas.                                                        sectors (finance, health, energy, etc.).

                                                                                                                            BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT
                                                                                                                                                                        Current tax burdens restrict the ability of
                                                                                                                                                   Evolution of         industry players to invest in new technologies
                                                                                                                                                   mobile sector        and improve connectivity. More favourable tax
                                     CORE BUSINESS

                                                                       More affordable smartphone and smart                                                             policies could contribute to increased investment
                                                     Increased smart                                                                               taxation
                                                                       feature phone options will provide additional                                                    and customer usage.
                                                     feature phone/    socio‑economic benefits (communication,
                                                     smartphone        business and financial applications) to
                                                                       consumers, increasing their demand for mobile                                                    AI and machine learning may automate certain
                                                                       internet and associated digital economy services.                                                job functions, optimise some human-performed
                                                                                                                                                   Development          tasks and enable new capabilities and services.
                                                                                                                                                   of disruptive        Improvements to the Internet of Things (IoT)
                                                                                                                                                   technologies         will increase the use of mobile technologies
                                                                                                                                                                        and support growth in business activity and
                                                                                                                                                                        associated opportunities (R&D, retail, etc.)
                                                     Mobile            Continued innovation by mobile network
                                                                       operators, particularly in mobile financial
                                                     services          services, will diversify mobile use and create new
                                                                                                                                                                        SSA has the lowest energy access rate globally.
                                                     innovation                                                                                                         Increasing access to electricity and other forms
                                                                       services.                                                                   Advancements
                                                                                                                                                                        of energy will improve private and business
                                                                                                                                                   in energy supply     consumers’ connectivity and growth in the
                                                                                                                                                                        mobile industry.

Drivers of employment change: effort vs. impact
                                       on job creation

                                       • We analysed the cost-benefit ratio of each driver to determine the potential for a
Employment through mobile industry

                                         positive impact on job creation by 2025.
                                       • This cost-benefit assessment was based on
                                          − The potential of the driver to create jobs (thousands of jobs); and
                                          − The effort required by the industry to make these scenarios a reality, both
                                                                                                                                                                      Enabling environment
                                            in terms of financial investment and difficulty of implementation (Figure 9).
                                                                                                                                                                     These drivers will have a positive impact on
                                       • Based on this analysis, the drivers were grouped into three categories:                                                     job creation, but are not directly controlled by
                                         Industry-led drivers; Enabling environment; and Disruption.                                                                 the industry, making it difficult to leverage them
                                                                                                                                                                     (besides advocacy/lobbying). These drivers
                                                                                                                                                                     depend primarily on political will or investment
                                                                                                                                                                     from other sectors.
                                                              Figure 9                Cost-benefit analysis of drivers employment in mobile industry


                                                                                        Industry-led                      Enabling environment
                                     Industry-led drivers                                                                                                                                        Disruption
                                                                     Impact on jobs

                                                                                               Increased network
                                     The most cost-                                                     coverage                                    Advancements in energy supply                Associated with
                                     effective employment                                                                                                                                        the contradictory
                                     catalysts for the                                     Mobile services innovation                                                                            impact that disruptive
                                     industry by 2025.                                                                        Enabling regulation                                                technologies, such
                                     These three trends                                                                                                                                          as AI and IoT, may
                                                                                                 Smart feature phone/
                                     – increased network                                       smartphone penetration                                                                            have on employment.
                                     coverage, smartphone/                                                                                                                                       These drivers have
                                     smart-feature phone                                                                       Evolution of the
                                                                                                                                                                                                 the potential to make
                                     penetration and mobile     Neutral                                                        mobile sector taxation                                            several positions
                                     services innovation                                                                                                                                         obsolete in the near
                                     – will create jobs by                                                                                                                                       future, particularly
                                     increasing demand                                                                                                                                           low-skilled jobs, but
                                     for existing and new                                                                 Disruption                       Development of                        could also create
                                                                                                                                                           disruptive technologies
                                     mobile services.                                                                                                                                            high-value jobs.
                                                                                      Medium                                                                                             High
                                                                                                                                          Effort (investment × difficulty of implementation)
                                                              Source GSMA Mobile for Development

Research objectives and scope

Youth employment in Sub-Saharan Africa      Context

The mobile industry   A job creation catalyst for youth in Sub-Saharan Africa

        Youth employment
        The ‘skills gap’
        and other barriers
Youth employment      A roadmap for the mobile industry

Country profiles   Ghana, Senegal and Nigeria

The role of the mobile industry in ensuring job supply
                               and creating demand

                               • The mobile industry plays a two-pronged role in
Barriers to youth employment

                                 youth employment: on the supply side, creating
                                 opportunities for decent work, and on the demand                                                           SUPPLY                                                        DEMAND
                                 side, enabling access to job opportunities, providing
                                 decent working conditions and opportunities for
                                 training, upskilling and career advancement for                                                                                                               Ensure youth can
                                 employees.                                                                                                     Create decent
                                                                                                                                                                                             find, retain, engage
                                                                                                                                              work opportunities
                               • However, the mobile industry faces several                                                                                                                  and progress in jobs
                                 challenges, which can differ depending on the
                                 nature (formal/informal) and level (entry, mid,
                                 senior) of jobs, the country and cultural contexts,
                                 vulnerability of certain groups (women, PWDs, etc.)
                                 and many other factors.9                                                                                   Top challenges in youth employability in Sub-Saharan Africa

                               • We spoke with 45 experts from the mobile                                                                    1   Lack of skills relevant to find, engage and progress in the jobs
                                 industry and broader ecosystem (henceforth called
                                 ‘our expert group’) to better understand these
                                                                                                                                             2   Specific barriers for vulnerable groups (women and persons
                                 challenges and found that the ‘skills gap’ is by far
                                                                                                                                                 with disabilities)
                                 the biggest challenge in youth employment in
                                 SSA. We discuss this and other barriers in detail in
                                 this section.                                                                                               3   Lack of on-the-job training and development opportunities

                                                                                                                                             4   Generational gap between employers and youth

                                                                                                                                             5   Adaptation to innovation

                                                                                                                                             6   Informality of jobs and associated barriers

                               9	ILO, Palmer R., Jobs and Skills Mismatch in the Informal Economy (2017). This data comes from the ILO’s
                                  School to Work Transition Survey (SWTS). Methodology: target group of the survey is youth aged 15 to
                                  29. Self‑employment is used as a proxy for informality.
The ‘skills gap’ is the greatest youth employment challenge

                               Defining the skills gap: The ‘skills gap’ is a situation                                                       Understanding the skills gap
Barriers to youth employment

                               in which the level or types of skills available do
                                                                                                                                              • Although more youth are
                               not correspond with labour market needs. In
                                                                                                                                                completing tertiary education,
                               Sub‑Saharan Africa, across all the industry sectors,                                                                                                 Youth do not have enough
                                                                                                                                                the education systems in
                               nearly 46 per cent of employed youth are either over                                                                                                 experience. There is a need
                                                                                                                                                Sub-Saharan Africa are often
                               or underqualified for their jobs. This gap is even more                                                                                              to provide [them] with
                                                                                                                                                perceived as ineffective.
                               evident among the self-employed, nearly 50 per cent                                                                                                  professional experience
                               of whom have a skill mismatch.10                                                                               • There is a disconnect between       before they apply for jobs:
                                                                                                                                                universities and industries,        apprenticeship, internship,
                                                                                                                                                which results in curricula not      etc.
                                                                                                                                                being designed with market
                                                                                                                                                                                    Youth employment organisation,
                               Figure 10        S
                                                 kills most in demand and shortage in mobile                                                   needs in mind.                      Nigeria
                                                industry across Sub-Saharan Africa
                                                                                                                                              • There is a shortage of early
                               Demand                                                                                                           work experience opportunities.
                                                                                                                                                Before joining the workforce,
                                                                                                                                                youth often do not come across
                                                                                                                                                opportunities for internships,
                                    17%                17%                20%                                47%
                                                                                                                                                apprenticeships and other
                                                                                                                                                early professional learning
                                                                                                                                                                                    Young people who arrive
                                                                                                                                                                                    on the job market are
                               Shortage                                                                                                       • Cultural barriers (respect          passive brains: the dominant
                                                                                                                                                for elders, compliance with         culture says that elders are
                                                                                                                                                hierarchies and gender              right and that one should
                                                                                                                                                biases) discourage youth from       not challenge the status
                                 9%              22%                        30%                                   39%
                                                                                                                                                expressing their opinions and       quo so young people
                                                                                                                                                asserting themselves, limiting      are completely passive
                                                                                                                                                the development of their            and have a low sense of
                                                                                                                                                behavioural skills and ability to   autonomy and agency.
                                   Technical skills                  Analytical skills
                                                                                                                                                be proactive on the job.            Youth upskilling organisation,
                                   Digital skills                    Behavioural skills
                               Ranking of responses in order of importance according to the number of occurrences in expert
                               group interviews

                               10	ILO, Palmer R., Jobs and Skills Mismatch in the Informal Economy (2017). This data comes from the ILO’s
                                    School to Work Transition Survey (SWTS). Methodology: target group of the survey is youth aged 15 to
                                    29. Self‑employment is used as a proxy for informality.
Key skill-sets required in the youth employment journey

                                     Analytical skills refer to the ability to understand complex                              Technical skills refer to the knowledge, expertise and
Barriers to youth employment

                                     ideas, adapt effectively to one’s environment and learn                                   interactions required to perform a specific job, including
                                     from experience and reason.11                                                             the mastery of the materials, tools or technologies.12

                                                        Writing                                      Critical Thinking
                                                                                                                                 Technical / Vocational                Science
                                                     Numeracy                                        Problem Solving                                                 Engineering

                                                                                                                                 Financial / Accounting                 (STEM)
                                                       Reading                                       Decision Making

                                     Digital skills are a particular type of technical skill. In this                          Behavioural skills refer to the ability to navigate
                                     report, digital skills are divided into three categories:13                               interpersonal and social situations effectively and include
                                                                                                                               leadership, teamwork and self-control.14

                                                                                                                                        Communication                 Creativity


                                                                                                                                         Entrepreneurial              Leadership

                               11 Definition from the World Bank                                                         12   Definition from the World Bank
                               13	Definitions from IFC and International Telecommunication Union                       14   Definition from the World Bank
Behavioural and digital skills are most in demand,
                               but in shortest supply

                               Behavioural skills are in short supply                            Digital skills are in high demand but often unavailable,
Barriers to youth employment

                                                                                                 particularly in middle- and high-skilled jobs
                               While technical skills might be expected to be the most
                               valued in a tech-driven sector, it is in fact behavioural         • Our expert group identified a lack of digital skills as the most
                               skills, such as communication, negotiation, teamwork and            pressing issue in hiring middle-skilled workers. Intermediate
                               leadership, that are most in demand.                                digital skills, such as the use of professional software and
                                                                                                   email, are essential to perform tasks effectively and progress
                               Interestingly, behavioural skills were also identified as those
                                                                                                   in one’s position. Employers in the mobile industry often
                               in shortest supply in the region, signifying a clear gap
                                                                                                   have to provide intermediate digital training after hiring
                               between in-demand and available skills.
                                                                                                   young graduates.
                                                                                                 • High-skilled jobs often require advanced digital skills (big
                                                                                                   data analytics, web development, etc.). The shortage of such
                                                                                                   skills among employees leads employers to rely on external
                                                                                                   consultants offering bespoke services. However, this is less
                                Hard skills can get you through the doors, but it is soft          of a concern than the shortage of intermediate skills, as it
                                skills that keep you in.                                           relates to fewer employees and to specific jobs
                                Expert group member                                              • Low-skilled jobs require just basic digital skills as these
                                                                                                   positions require minimal use of digital tools. However, the
                                                                                                   expert group noted that a shortage of these skills hinder
                                                                                                   youth from accessing better opportunities.

                                Youth are losing out on their dream jobs because they
                                lack the needed soft skills: communication, teamwork
                                and leadership [behavioural skills].
                                Youth employment organisation, Ghana
                                                                                                     There is also an enormous shortage in digital skills as
                                                                                                     young graduates sometimes do not even have basic
                                                                                                     digital solutions such as word processor or online
                                                                                                     mailing system.
                                                                                                     Youth employment organisation, Senegal

The skills gap differs by job type
Barriers to youth employment

                                            Young people finishing school today lack                                                  We studied the impact of short vocational training for low-
                                            problem‑solving skills: which is what we do at                                            skilled informal workers. In the medium run, they all remained
                                            work! And they need to be able to take decisions.                                         in the informal sector but still all increased their revenues.
                                            Mobile network operator, Zambia                                                           Youth upskilling organisation, Sub-Saharan Africa

                                          HIGH-SKILLED JOBS                                            MIDDLE-SKILLED JOBS                                            LOW-SKILLED JOBS



                                                                         ADVANCED                                LEADERSHIP                                                 INTERMEDIATE
                                                  ENTREPRENEURIAL        DIGITAL SKILLS                                                                                     DIGITAL SKILLS     ENTREPRENEURIAL

                                                                                                        ADVANCED                  INTERMEDIATE
                                                LEADERSHIP                                              DIGITAL SKILLS            DIGITAL SKILLS

                                                                                                                                        CREATIVITY                                           BASIC DIGITAL
                                                                     COMMUNICATION                                                                                     CREATIVITY
                                                                                                           ENTREPRENEURIAL         COMMUNICATION                                                  COMMUNICATION
                                                          CRITICAL       FINANCIAL                            BASIC DIGITAL     FINANCIAL                                                      TECHNICAL
                                                          THINKING       ACCOUNTING                           SKILLS          ACCOUNTING                                  WRITING               VOCATION     NUMERACY

                                                                               Importance                                                   Importance                                                        Importance

                                          • Most required: Financial skills, critical                  • Most required: Creativity, communication,                    • Most required: Basic digital skills,
                                            thinking and communication                                   financial accounting, intermediate digital                     communication, technical/vocational,
                                                                                                         skills                                                         numeracy
                                          • Greatest shortage: Entrepreneurial
                                            skills, advanced digital skills and problem                • Greatest shortage: Problem solving,                          • Greatest shortage: Entreprenuerial,
                                            solving.                                                     leadership                                                     financial/accounting

                                             Technical skills    Analytical skills
                                             Digital skills      Behavioural skills
Other barriers to employment:
                               Financial constraints and lack of social protections

                               While skills gaps underpin most barriers to employment, our experts highlighted other challenges faced by the mobile industry in
Barriers to youth employment

                               hiring and retaining a talented workforce.

                               Limited awareness of existing job opportunities —                                 Lack of financial resources hinders skill                                              Low-skilled workers, especially informal workers,
                               where to find them and how to apply for them                                      development and job search                                                             have limited prospects for job advancement and
                                                                                                                                                                                                        often lack social protections
                               • Finding the right job requires a lot more skill than                            • The region’s education system is not in tune
                                 merely spotting job postings. Youth in the region                                 with market requirements, forcing youth to seek                                      • According to our expert group, youth with
                                 experience difficulties identifying the right career                              additional training. Accessing relevant training                                       low skills working as sales agents often feel
                                 path and then ‘selling’ their skills to an employer.                              courses or recruitment consultants to find jobs is not                                 discouraged because they perceive few
                                 Often, they do not have access to recruitment                                     affordable for youth most in need of these skills.                                     opportunities for job advancement. Lack of
                                 agencies or consultants who can help them.                                                                                                                               opportunity is compounded by difficult working
                                                                                                                 • Training programmes, specifically those related to                                     conditions: most are informal jobs without
                               • There is a disconnect between expectations and                                    soft skills, tend to be unsuccessful or unpopular                                      social protections or job security, and unstable
                                 opportunities for youth. One survey has revealed                                  because they are not perceived as income                                               revenues.
                                 that nearly a quarter of Francophone African                                      generating. High unemployment rates and acute
                                 youth want a job in the public sector, which                                      financial pressure often steer youth towards                                         • In a region where informal work is the norm,
                                 accounts for only about four per cent of new                                      courses linked to professional qualifications or                                       few are covered by social protection schemes.
                                 jobs.15                                                                           certifications that can lead to quick employment.                                      In Ghana, 18.3 per cent of the population is
                                                                                                                                                                                                          covered by at least one social protection, which is
                                                                                                                 • Youth cannot afford to wait for attractive job                                         significantly lower than in other regions. Nigeria
                                                                                                                   offers without a source of income (there are few                                       ranks much lower, however, with only 4.4 per cent
                                                                                                                   unemployment benefits in the region), leading                                          of its population covered.17
                                                                                                                   them to accept positions for which they are
                                                                                                                   overqualified. According to the ILO, 16.1 per cent
                                                                                                                   of young employees in SSA (formal sector) are

                                  Access to information is an issue as there are                                    Launching digital training is complicated: youth                                       Jobs [such] as street hawkers distributing
                                  no digital platforms communicating updated                                        often cannot afford not to work for six months                                         mobile services are hard and can be
                                  and relevant offers for all profiles. Finding a job                               and to live in the capital city without financial                                      demotivating. Upskilling them to keep them
                                  depends a lot on who you know.                                                    compensation.                                                                          motivated is important.
                                  Youth employment organisation, Senegal                                            Mobile network operator, Côte d’Ivoire                                                 Youth employment organisation, Senegal

                               15	IDRC (2015), Youth Employment in Sub-Saharan Africa, Taking Stock of the      16	ILO, Palmer R. (October 2017), Jobs and Skills Mismatch in the Informal Economy.   17	ILO, World Social Protection Report (2017). Based on World Social Protection
                                   Evidence and Knowledge Gaps. 1-2-3 Surveys conducted in Francophone African       Data from ILO’s School to Work Transition Survey (SWTS). Methodology: target           Database, ILOSTAT, national sources
                                   country capital cities. Extracted from Cling et al. (2007)                        group of the survey is youth aged 15–29 years
Other barriers to employment:
                               Poor human resources practices

                               Human resources (HR) recruitment practices: do high                                                                                          Employers face challenges retaining highly skilled talent and
Barriers to youth employment

                               qualifications or better connections guarantee a good                                                                                        understanding the aspirations of the millennial generation
                                                                                                                                                                            • Some in our expert group noted a lack of attractive jobs
                               • According to some youth employment experts, private                                                                                          for the most talented workers, who tend to look abroad
                                 companies often recruit top achievers from the best                                                                                          for better opportunities. MNOs also face competition from
                                 schools and set high academic achievement criteria. Some                                                                                     other sectors (insurance, banking, tech companies, etc.).
                                 believe ‘youth potential’ is not assessed or valued.                                                                                         They mentioned wages, lack of career progression and a
                                                                                                                                                                              culture of authority as some of the contributing factors.
                               • According to a Cambridge University survey about youth
                                 experiences in low and middle income countries, the lack                                                                                   • A lack of opportunities for employees to build their
                                 of ‘right personal and family connections’ was considered                                                                                    skills contributes to the problem of attrition. This is most
                                 a key barrier to their job search.18 This means that youth                                                                                   common among youth in middle-skilled jobs, such as
                                 who do not attend the best universities or have the                                                                                          call centre agents, who tend to feel more limited by the
                                 necessary connections cannot secure formal jobs with                                                                                         opportunities in their organisations to learn and expand
                                 good employers in the mobile industry.                                                                                                       their skill-sets to progress in their career.
                               • This not only creates barriers for job seekers, but also                                                                                   • Our expert group pointed out that the industry is also
                                 significantly limits the talent pool for employers. The                                                                                      grappling with issues related to the generation gap
                                 industry primarily recruits from top universities, which                                                                                     between employers and job seekers. With the advent of
                                 tend to have the right networks with employers. A lack of                                                                                    the gig economy, job seekers are increasingly presented
                                 available platforms to connect employers with youth was                                                                                      with informal employment opportunities that offer a
                                 highlighted as a key barrier by our expert group.                                                                                            secondary source of income, making them less reliant
                                                                                                                                                                              on employers. This is a new perspective for an older
                                                                                                                                                                              generation recruiting young graduates, and training is
                                                                                                                                                                              required to sensitise both employers and employees and
                                                                                                                                                                              help them adapt to the changes.

                                  HR should be reminded that the skillset                                                                                                                                          Jobs in sales and call centres offer little
                                                                                                                          Millennials don’t want to stay in the same
                                  and demographics of the current youth are                                                                                                                                        advancement opportunities; people may spend
                                                                                                                          company for more than six years. This is an issue
                                  changing, and they should change their                                                                                                                                           many years there and they do not gain many
                                                                                                                          since telcos invest a lot in training.
                                  recruitment criteria to match this.                                                                                                                                              skills in doing so.
                                                                                                                          Mobile network operator, Nigeria
                                  Recruitment and training agency, Ghana                                                                                                                                           Mobile network operator, Ghana

                               18	Barford & Coombe (April 2019), Getting By: Young People’s Working Lives, University of Cambridge. 249 respondents aged 18 to 35, predominantly from Sub-Saharan Africa, followed by Asia.
The specific challenges of vulnerable youth groups:
                               Rural residents

                               Vulnerable youth groups enter the labour market
Barriers to youth employment

                               with fewer assets
                               There are significant imbalances in education among                                                                        Rural youth face higher poverty
                               vulnerable youth:                                                                                                          and geographical barriers
                               • The percentage of rural youth aged 12 to 14 who
                                                                                                                                                        • The main barrier for rural youth is geographical: universities,
                                 have not attended school is considerably higher                                                                          training centres and most formal job opportunities are usually
                                 than that of urban: 18 per cent versus 6 per cent.19                                                                     located in major cities.

                               • In SSA, 35 per cent of females aged 15–24 are                                                                          • Rural populations are also significantly poorer than their urban
                                                                                                                                                          counterparts:23 38 per cent of the rural population in Ghana is
                                 not in employment, education or training (NEET)
                                                                                                                                                          poor compared to 11 per cent of city dwellers. In Nigeria and
                                 compared to 20 per cent of males.20                                                                                      Senegal, the rate is considerably higher: 53 per cent versus 34
                                                                                                                                                          per cent, and 57 per cent versus 33 per cent, respectively.
                               • Young women are 41 per cent less likely than young
                                 men to use mobile internet, and rural populations                                                                      • Higher levels of poverty influence training and employment
                                                                                                                                                          opportunities: rural youth often cannot afford to leave their
                                 are 58 per cent less likely to use mobile internet                                                                       hometown to study or find employment in major cities. They are
                                 than those living in urban areas.21                                                                                      also more likely to drop out of school than urban youth,24 which
                                                                                                                                                          considerably limits their chances of accessing quality, decent
                               • Primary school completion rates are 10 points                                                                            work.
                                 lower for girls with disabilities than for girls without
                                 disabilities in SSA, and 13 points lower for boys with

                                                                                                                                                             Rural connectivity issues […]                                        There are a few good trainings
                                                                                                                                                             hamper rural youth access to                                         outside of Dakar but they remain
                                                                                                                                                             information in real time.                                            rare in Senegal. Everything
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  is centred around the capital
                                                                                                                                                             Mobile network operator, Cameroon                                    and it costs a lot of money for
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  rural youth to study far from
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  home. Moreover, most work
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  opportunities are in Dakar, except
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  for some sales jobs...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Youth employment organisation,

                               19	World Bank Group (2015), Why Do Sub-Saharan African Youth Drop Out of School? Sources: Feda and Sakellariou (2013)     23	World Bank data. Rural poverty headcount ratio at national poverty lines (% of rural population).
                               20	World Bank Data. Derived using data from ILO, ILOSTAT database.                                                            Urban poverty headcount ratio at national poverty lines (% of urban population)

24                             21 GSMA, Mobile Internet Connectivity: Sub-Saharan Factsheet (2019)                                                        24	World Bank Group, Why Do Sub-Saharan African Youth Drop Out of School? (2015)
                               22	World Health Organisation, World Report on Disability (2011)
The specific challenges of vulnerable youth groups:
                                 Females and persons with disabilities
Barriers to youth employment

                                 Young women face systemic and                                                                      Youth with disabilities face accessibility
                                 self‑reinforcing employment barriers                                                               barriers and social stigma
                                 Our expert group and the literature agree that cultural barriers                                 • Many education systems are not designed to be inclusive of
                                 limit access to education and training for young women.                                            persons with disabilities (PWD), resulting in lower educational
                               • There is often a lack of HR policies encouraging work-life
                                 balance (e.g. parental leave, flexible hours) for women. A                                       • The literature also shows that PWD are considerably less likely
                                 recent survey found that 32 per cent of female respondents in                                      to be employed: in SSA, the employment to population ratio
                                 the ICT sector in Ghana said they would not be able to keep                                        is 34 per cent compared to 53 per cent for persons without
                                 their job if they became pregnant.                                                                 disabilities.28

                               • Sexual harassment and gender discrimination are also a                                           • In terms of inclusiveness in the workplace, some mobile industry
                                 concern. Some members of the expert group indicated that                                           players admit they lack suitable infrastructure to welcome PWDs
                                 companies do not always align their values with internal                                           and/or are not proactive enough in their efforts to employ youth
                                 policies to make women feel safe and valued at work.                                               with disabilities. Persistent stereotypes also have an impact on
                                                                                                                                    the hiring of PWD.
                               • Consequently, women are less represented in senior positions
                                 (fewer than one in 10 senior leaders in African ICT companies                                    • The Digital Accessibility Rights Evaluation (DARE) index
                                 according to the GSMA) and female youth have fewer female                                          score29 assesses the progress of 121 countries in regulation and
                                 role models to inspire their education and career choices.                                         policy implementation for PWDs. Nigeria ranks 97th with very
                                                                                                                                    little regulation and medium-low implementation capacity.
                                                                                                                                    Ghana is 59th, with many laws and regulations, but also
                                                                                                                                    medium capacity for implementation. Senegal falls between
                                                                                                                                    them at 87th, with average results in both regulation and

                                    Barriers faced by women exist before                                                              We apply international standards to welcome PWDs, so we
                                    employment (family pressure) and after                                                            could hire them but there are few candidates and not a lot of
                                    employment (sexist attitudes in the workplace).                                                   communication towards them.
                                    Youth upskilling organisation, Nigeria                                                            Mobile network operator, Madagascar

                                 25	BSR, Women’s Economic Empowerment in Sub-Saharan Africa: Recommendations for the Mobile        27	World Health Organisation, World Report on Disability (2011)
                                     Telecommunications Sector (2017)                                                               28	United Nations, Realisation of the SDGs by, for and with Persons with Disabilities (2018)
25                               26	 GSMA, Accelerating the Digital Economy: Gender Diversity in the Telecommunications Sector     29	The Global Initiative for Inclusive ICTs, DARE INDEX Country Dashboard (2017–2018)
Research objectives and scope

Youth employment in Sub-Saharan Africa       Context

The mobile industry   A job creation catalyst for youth in Sub-Saharan Africa

Youth employment      The ‘skills gap’ and other barriers

        Youth employment
        A roadmap for the
        mobile industry
Country profiles   Ghana, Senegal and Nigeria

Objectives and strategies for the mobile industry
                   Overview                Solutions that mobile industry players can implement quickly and         Solutions to complex challenges that often require collective solutions
                                           with limited investment. These include programmes or activities that     and/or structural changes. These will take longer to implement, often
                                           depend primarily on internal resources and can be led within their own   require collective actions and partnerships with other stakeholders
                                           organisation.                                                            (non‑profit, government and public authorities, technology and other
Youth employment

                                                                                                                    private companies and international organisations, such as development
                                                                                                                    agencies) and medium to large investment. They also refer to advocacy
                                                                                                                    efforts the mobile industry could be required to promote to create long-
                                                                                                                    term structural transformation

                                           SHORT-TERM STRATEGIES                                                    MID/LONG-TERM STRATEGIES
                   Bridge the skills       • Develop scholarships, internships, graduate and apprenticeship         • Support and accelerate youth upskilling programmes in
                   gap for current and       programmes for students.                                                 partnership with upskilling organisations and other partners
                   future employment       • Support educational institutions to build their capacities.              (e.g. tech companies). Encourage affirmative action to ensure
                   opportunities                                                                                      accessibility for vulnerable youth groups.
                                                                                                                    • Promote future-ready education and curricula by working with
                                                                                                                      education providers and universities.
                                                                                                                    • Encourage the provision of student work placements through
                                                                                                                      sectoral incentives for participating companies.

                   Increase information    • Improve access to information and increase awareness of                • Partner with employment organisations to increase the visibility
                   and awareness             employment opportunities in the mobile industry.                         of job offers, including among vulnerable youth groups.
                   about employment        • Implement more inclusive HR practices to create more diverse           • Accelerate and support entrepreneurship in the mobile industry
                   opportunities and         recruitment profiles and shift away from the ‘culture of the             ecosystem, including organisations that foster entrepreneurship
                   ensure inclusiveness      diploma’.                                                                among vulnerable youth groups.
                   for all                                                                                          • Investigate decentralising certain job functions, especially to rural

                   Ensure decent           • Consider social incentives to improve benefits for informal            • Advocate for better social protections and health schemes,
                   working conditions        workers.                                                                 especially for informal workers.
                   to help youth achieve   • Create mechanisms that promote gender equality, such as
                   their full potential      parental benefits and flexible working hours.
                                           • Raise awareness of gender violence and establish mechanisms
                                             to improve women’s safety in the workplace.
                                           • Improve accessibility for youth with disabilities.
                                           • Launch dedicated research/teams to better understand the
                                             expectations and needs of millennials.

                   Develop lifelong        • Design capacity building programmes that target low-skilled
                   learning and on-          and informal workers.
                   the-job training        • Accelerate mentorship programmes in companies associated
                   opportunities             with the mobile industry.
                                           • Promote lifelong learning and on-the-job training.

Bridging the skills gap

                   Develop scholarships, internships, graduate and          Support educational institutions to build their
Youth employment

                   apprenticeship programmes for students                   capacities
                   • Industry players are facing increased competition      • To build the skills of youth, it is important to train
                     from other sectors (banking, insurance, etc.)            teachers and trainers and support educational
                     to recruit talent. Scholarship and graduate              institutions with expertise (e.g. teacher training,
                     programmes make it possible to identify and retain       conferences) and pedagogical tools (e.g.
                     talent from universities while also improving access     laboratories, computers, machines). Through its
                     to higher education for youth, including vulnerable      Teacher Training programme33 in Nigeria, 9mobile,
                     groups. Since its inception, the MTN Nigeria             in partnership with the British Council, strengthen
                     Foundation30 has awarded annual scholarships             teaching skills and English language proficiency.
                     (200,000 Naira or $550) to over 3,300 STEM             33   9mobile CSR reporting
                     (science, technology, engineering and mathematics)
                     students and about 500 visually impaired students
                     attending Nigeria’s public universities.
                   • From vocational and technical degrees to tertiary
                     degrees, internship and apprenticeship programmes
                     provide students with work experience and improve
                     their work readiness and skills. In Nigeria and
                     Ghana, Microsoft’s Apprenticeship Factory31 gives
                     apprentice developers an opportunity to spend up
                     to six months with senior software technicians and
                     get priority access to jobs through the Microsoft
                     ecosystem. Competitive programmes for young top
                     talent, such as Andela,32 provides students with six
                     months of intensive on-the-job training, after which
                     students are employed in a remote position for 3.5
                     years with a partner company in one of Andela’s
                     four African offices. Andela is backed by the IFC
                     and Google Ventures, among others.

                   30    MTN Foundation
                   31    Microsoft4Africa
28                 32   Andela
Bridging the skills gap

                                                                                     CASE STUDY
                   Support, accelerate and invest in youth upskilling                GLOBAL ALLIANCE
Youth employment

                                                                                     FOR YOUth
                   • To address the skill needs of the mobile industry and create
                     a pool of future candidates, mobile industry players can
                     partner with youth upskilling organisations to co‑design and
                     support training programmes at all skill levels. Emphasis can
                     be placed on skills most in demand but in shortest supply
                                                                                     Global Alliance for YOUth38 is a business-
                     (behavioural and digital skills). These courses can range
                                                                                     driven movement founded by Nestlé and
                     from awareness raising at an early age (Vodafone’s Instant
                                                                                     20 other global companies (Firmenich,
                     Schools,34 which provides online access to educational
                                                                                     EY, SAP, Microsoft, Vodafone, Mastercard
                     resources from primary to secondary level) to training for
                                                                                     and others). Established in 2014, it has
                     young professionals (Google Digital Skills for Africa,35
                                                                                     supported 150,000 opportunities for
                     which trains job seekers and small and medium enterprises
                                                                                     youth to date. In 2019, initiatives were
                     on digital tools, with two million people trained to date).
                                                                                     launched in Côte d’Ivoire, Angola and
                     In Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire, social start‑up Simplon36
                                                                                     South Africa. In Côte d’Ivoire, MTN joined
                     supports vocational training and education programmes
                                                                                     the initiative and pledged, along with
                     that teach technical skills and provide training for youth in
                                                                                     other corporate partners, to create more
                     digital professions (web developers, etc.).
                                                                                     opportunities for youth and to foster
                   • Joint efforts from MNOs, development organisations              youth employment and entrepreneurship
                     and private sector companies, including the tech sector,        by investing in specific initiatives.
                     could support upskilling programmes at scale. Coding for
                     Employment,37 an African Development Bank programme
                     supported by the Rockefeller Foundation and private
                     companies such as Microsoft, Facebook and Safaricom,
                     aims to equip African youth with basic to advanced digital
                     skills. Each of the 130 centres is expected to train at least
                     1,800 youth over two years. Global Alliance for YOUth38
                     (see case study) also demonstrates the importance
                     of building coalitions to foster youth employment and
                     training and accelerate opportunities.

                   34 Vodafone Instant School                                        38   Global Alliance for Youth
                   35 Google Digital Skills for Africa
29                 36 Simplon CIV
                      Coding for Employment press release
Best practices in youth upskilling programmes

                           Link upskilling programmes with employment                              Develop pricing models that consider the target
Youth employment

                           opportunities                                                           audience
                           Placement is the key to a successful upskilling programme.              There are different points of view on the price of training courses.
                           Partnerships between trainers and future employers are necessary        Some believe training should be free to enable as many youth as
                           to ensure that trainees get access to quality work opportunities.       possible to have access. Others suggest that free access can lessen
                           In South Africa, Harambee39 provides training to unemployed             the commitment of participants. Mobile industry companies should
                           youth aged 18–28 and partners with over 30 employers to secure          consider pricing decisions carefully and be aware of the constraints
                           placements. Placements also require proper assessment of skill          of their target audience.
                           demand at the local level. In Kenya, the Vusha project, through the
                           African Centre for Women in Information and Communication
                           Technology40 (ACWICT), assesses which digital skills are most in        Design incentives to keep trainees on the programme,
                           demand locally and have a placement rate of 80 per cent (in jobs or     especially the less privileged
                           online work).
                                                                                                   Beyond pricing, incentives could be introduced to reduce attrition.
                                                                                                   Incentives can take different forms and range from financial
                           Seek co-funding partners                                                incentives to benefits in kind. While Orange, through its partnership
                                                                                                   with Open classrooms,42 guarantees access to free training to
                           Funding a business model linked to a training programme is              unemployed people in some countries (such as Benin and Togo),
                           challenging. Stakeholders should look for alternative funding and       other incentives could include meals or transportation.
                           support, such as international organisations and donors, which are
                           increasingly interested in these issues. The African Development
                           Bank41 has invested $1.64 billion in programmes over the past           Ensure programmes are accessible to vulnerable
                           15 years to prepare youth for careers in science, technology and
                                                                                                   youth groups
                                                                                                   Extra effort should be taken to attract women, who are less likely
                                                                                                   than men to demand upskilling, to the digital ecosystem. Affirmative
                           Be aware of infrastructure constraints                                  action and quotas can be implemented to ensure equitable access.
                                                                                                   Some organisations focus on women alone: in Nigeria, Women
                           Many youth (especially those living in rural areas) still do not have
                                                                                                   Tech Empowerment Centers43 provide ICT training to women only
                           access to stable electricity or mobile data. Training programmes
                                                                                                   (27,000 women have been reached and 86 per cent are pursuing a
                           should provide solutions to overcome infrastructure barriers (space,
                                                                                                   STEM-related career).
                           tools, etc.) to ensure training is accessible.
                                                                                                   Other youth groups, like youth with disabilities or rural youth,
                                                                                                   require specific measures to follow training programmes. Blended
                                                                                                   approaches, such as mixing online and offline courses, can provide
                                                                                                   interesting alternatives, especially for people who cannot attend
                                                                                                   in‑person training.

                   39   Harambee South Africa                                                      42   Orange press release
                   40   BSR, Telecommunication Brief (2017)                                        43   WTEC
30                 41   Coding for Employment press release
Best practices in youth upskilling programmes

                                                                                                      CASE STUDY
                   Promote future-ready                     Encourage student work                    Seeds Of Hope, European
Youth employment

                   education and curricula                  placements through
                   by working with education                incentives for participating              Institute For Cooperation
                   providers and universities               companies                                 And Development (IECD)
                   Limited connections and lack of          • Internships and apprenticeships         Nigeria and Côte d’Ivoire44
                   communication between academia             are initiatives the industry can
                   and the professional world were often      take to increase work experience
                   raised by the experts interviewed for      for youth. To foster this practice,
                   this research. Two important steps         government and public authorities
                   can be taken to close this gap:            should consider providing financial     IECD is a non-profit organisation that
                                                              incentives (e.g. direct funding,
                   • Provide data and information on          tax incentives) to companies that
                                                                                                      promotes education and vocational
                     skill demand: Collect and share up-      provide work placements. In Nigeria,    training in emerging economies. Seeds of
                     to-date data on industry needs and       the government established and          Hope is a flagship programme developed
                     trends to inform education policies.     funded the Students Industrial          in collaboration with electricity and
                   • Foster and participate in national       Work Experience Scheme
                                                              (SIWES).45 SIWES is a mandatory         energy industry players. The programme
                     dialogue with education providers:
                     Participate in discussions led by        programme for all Nigerian              provides low-skilled youth with skills in
                     education providers (public and          university students in designated       energy and utilities, and arranges work
                                                              technical fields. Ministries and
                     private) to co-design future-ready                                               placements in partner companies.
                     curricula and publicly advocate for      companies are obliged to provide
                     greater dialogue between industry        industrial placements to students       The programme was initiated in Lebanon
                     and educational institutions.            for six months. The federal
                                                              government funds an allowance           in 2007 and has since been replicated in
                     Such programmes have been
                     implemented successfully in other        for all students (about $7/month)       six countries, including Nigeria and Côte
                     industries, such as the IECD’s           while employers pay them a salary.      d’Ivoire. In addition to training, the IECD
                                                              The government also funds the
                     Seeds of Hope,44 which is currently                                              promotes dialogue between employers
                     operational in Nigeria and Côte          support structure that coordinates
                                                              the scheme (providing orientation       and vocational education providers to
                     d’Ivoire in the energy and utilities
                     sectors (see case study).                services, sourcing candidates, etc.).   jointly develop work-oriented curricula. It
                                                              In South Africa, the non-profit         also encourages all partners to advocate
                                                              Yes4Youth (YES)46 partners with
                                                              government and employers to
                                                                                                      for the development of this curricula at a
                                                              upskill youth and provide them          national level. In Lebanon, this approach
                                                              with work placement opportunities.      led to the creation of a new official
                                                              The government assists employers        vocational curriculum recognised and
                                                              with costs associated with the
                                                              training and a 12-month work            scaled by the government.
                   44   Seeds of Hope
                   45   SIWES
 31                46   Yes4Youth
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