Experts call for development of continental qualification frameworks for enhancing skills portability and quality of training across Africa

By African Union Commission (AUC)

The Department of Human Resources, Sciences and Technology (HRST) convened an Expert's Workshop on Skills Portability and the Development of a Continental Qualification Framework on 26th April, 2016, to review the expert report on Skills Portability at Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and Continental Levels. The workshop focused on qualification frameworks and quality of skills development programmes in formal, informal and non-formal systems and across countries in a bid to harmonize the systems.

To alleviate skills imbalances across sectors and regions in Africa and promote employability of African youth, the Joint Labour Migration Programme (JLMP) of AU-ILO-IOM-ECA-UNDP developed initiative titled “Skills recognition for better labour mobility in Africa.” This is in line with the Skills revolution called for by Agenda 2063, as well as the Migration Policy Framework for Africa, the African Common Position on Migration and Development and the Joint AU-EU Declaration on Migration and Development.The Continental Qualification Framework will enable recognition of credentials that will facilitate transferability of knowledge, skills and expertise across the continent and globally.

During the opening of the workshop, the Head of Education and Acting Head of the Youth, HRST, Dr. Beatrice Njenga emphasised that 'resolvingtheproblemofskills shortages will require particular focus on innovation,aswellasthe development of talent and entrepreneurship to enable youth benefit from and contribute to opportunities that would offer decent incomes and prosperity.' She underscored that the issue of Skills Developmentonthe continent perfectly resonates with the imperative to develop Africa's youth into a major resource for achieving Africa's integration, peace and prosperity for 'the Africa we want.' For that matter, she said that education and training have to be closely linked with sectoral development programmes especially in agriculture, infrastructure and energy, trade and industry; and desired values of democracy, good governance and peace also need to be taken into account in curriculum development. She called for private sector to be involved in ensuring alignment and relevance.

Dr. Beatrice Njenga laid out the expectations of the deliberations, namely a road map on the way forward inthe developmentand implementationofaContinental Qualifications Framework. Accordingly, she underlined that this will be the time to learn fromwhat obtains in the various RECs represented here,with regards to the landscape in harmonization efforts - thenexus betweenskills development,and migration should be eventually tightened to enhance employability and integration within the continent.

In his introductory remark, the representative from the UNECA and key partner in the JLMP initiative, Mr. Adrian Gauci, reinstated the importance of the workshop, by highlighting a key outcome of the Conference of Ministers of Finance where a side event on migration tasked AUC and UNECA to set up a high level panel on Migration in which skill portability will be a key issue.

A summary of the report on Skills Portability was presented by the consultant Mr. Francesco Panzica, and the experts received it well and made major contributions that will be taken on board in the road map.