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Sensitization Meeting with Diplomatic Corps Sets the Stage for upcoming Job Creation Forum in Addis

Addis Ababa, 29 May 2023 -. A sensitization meeting with the diplomatic corps in Addis Ababa set the stage, Monday, for an upcoming inaugural Africa Job Creation Forum to be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 7 - 9 July 2023 on the theme, "Accelerating Job Creation, Digital and Financial Inclusion in the Implementation of the AfCFTA". The pre-forum gathered inputs and interventions that are expected to shape the discussions and priorities for the main forum.

According to the organizers at the AeTrade Group, the primary objective of the Africa Job Creation Forum is to expedite the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) by fostering value addition, industrialization, and job creation across the continent. With projections indicating that Africa will be home to 40% of the world's workforce by 2050, the Africa Job Creation Forum becomes a vital platform to address the evolving labour landscape. By connecting various stakeholders within the African innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem, the forum aims to create synergies that will enable the ecosystem to thrive and generate a significant number of jobs in Africa.

At this week’s meeting with the diplomatic corps, Nigussu Tilahun, Ethiopia’s State Minister, Ministry of Labour and Skills, emphasized the significance of improving labour statistics and data quality to enhance job creation planning. He highlighted the importance of leveraging opportunities for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) with special focus on women and youth.

Mr. Albert Muchanga reaffirmed the urgency of creating a platform to galvanise collective action to address the youth unemployment and inequality that are increasing in African countries, noting that partnerships involving all stakeholders, especially the AU member states and the private sector. The importance of the measuring the decent jobs created at country level was crucial to track progress each year.

Mr. Ozonnia Ojielo, UN Resident Coordinator, Rwanda, stated that the United Nations in Rwanda is committed to join efforts with partners like AeTrade to create a conducive, digital and smart environment for job creation. One area of focus is supporting the development of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). ‘These enterprises are the backbone of any economy, providing a significant share of employment opportunities. We are actively engaged in providing capacity building, access to finance, and technical assistance to help SMEs thrive and grow’.

Antonio Pedro, Acting Executive Secretary of the ECA, underscored the importance of the upcoming Africa Job Creation Forum considering the projected growth of Africa's labour force and the need to accelerate implementation of the AfCTA. The successful implementation of the AfCFTA, he said, would not only improve labour mobility but also contribute to the growth of productive industries, including the creative sector, resulting in a potential to increase continental GDP by $55 billion by 2045.

With estimates of Africa’s population reaching 2.5 billion people by 2050, Mr. Pedro emphasized the need for sector-specific reforms that create ‘purposeful jobs that are aligned with the continent's competitiveness’ and ‘potential to develop green value chains’, noting initiatives such as the DRC-Zambia Battery and Electric Vehicle Value Chain and the Great Blue Wall Initiative. By focusing on labour-intensive sectors such as construction and agribusiness, he noted that ‘long-term reforms should strengthen institutions, improve infrastructure, accelerate technology adoption, and align skills with job requirements’.

Mulalem Syoum, CEO of AeTrade, said ...the focus now is more on technology-based competencies’andhighlighted the initiative's goal of creating between ‘…80 and 125 million jobs in Africa by 2023 through collaboration with stakeholders’. He noted the importance of shifting toward a knowledge-based economy when looking at new approaches to job creation.

The AeTrade Group emphasized its commitment to continuous engagement with stakeholders, particularly in fostering innovative solutions for digitalization and inclusive participation in the knowledge economy. The co-organisers envision the Africa Job Creation Forum to be an annual event for reflecting on objectives, sharing positive experiences among AU member states, identifying unique partnerships, and fostering accountability frameworks in the job creation space.

During the discussions, participants emphasized the importance of job quality, productivity, and the unique opportunities within Africa’s creative industry. Some of the interventions also proposed specific thematic issues including conflict situations as well as ensuring the youth can participate in significant numbers. Overall, the pre-forum sensitization meeting served as a preview of the insightful discussions and collaborations expected to emerge from the inaugural Africa Job Creation Forum.

Jean-Paul Adam, Director of ECA’s Technology, Climate Change and Natural Resources Division (TCND) emphasized the significance of Africa’s private sector-led initiatives and the importance of “choosing the right types of investments’. He highlighted the role of green investments, particularly in industries that are committed to combating climate change and driving green transitions. He proposed that the forum's outputs in this regard may be proposed during the upcoming Africa Climate Summit to be held in Nairobi in September, as crucial steps toward merging joint targets between combating climate change and creating jobs.

Mactar Seck, Chief of Technology and Innovation Section at ECA’s TCND, stressed the need to build digital skills capacity in Africa, emphasizing the urgent need to boost technological competencies for young people. ‘...with approximately 90% of new jobs requiring digital skills, efforts to enhance digital literacy and skills development are critical’.

As Africa prepares to harness its burgeoning labour force and leverage the potential of the AfCFTA, the forum in July is expected to further drive inclusive growth in the digital economy. Among the priorities is the implementation of monitoring and evaluation systems for enhanced assessment of labour statistics, in addition to the creation of an enabling environment for digital and inclusive growth with a specific focus on SMEs.

The July inaugural forum is expected to further establish a consensus on the principles underlying the job creation policy mix, along with actionable recommendations, including ambitious short and long-term commitments to strengthen digital and financial inclusion. Open discussions among key players, including Regional Economic Communities (RECs), policymakers, the private sector, and civil society, are expected to take place and address challenges related to regional and continental integration.

For media inquiries, please contact: African e-Trade Group (AeTrade): African Union Commission (AUC): Economic Commission for Africa (ECA):

About the AeTrade Group

The African E-Trade Group (AeTrade) is a continental social enterprise with a vision to develop and implement an e-empowerment program that will enhance intra-and inter-African trade. AeTrade brings together public and private sector partners to develop projects that leverage the power of information and communication technologies (ICTs) for the benefit of Africa’s present and future entrepreneurs. The AeTrade Group is mandated by the African Union Commission and the Government of Ethiopia to manage the preparation and execution of the Africa Job Creation Forum.

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