Strengthening Education and Learning Systems to Deliver a 4IR-Ready Workforce

February 15, 2022
One-fifth of the global population under the age of 25 now resides in rapidly growing Sub-Saharan Africa. The region’s working-age population is expected to reach 600 million in 2030, with a youth share of 37 percent—larger than that of China. With the right education and training, coupled with well-defined national development strategies and employment policies, Africa’s large and fast-growing youth population could be a great asset for development and provide a comparative advantage in world markets. However, governments face significant challenges in realizing the demographic dividend, including high unemployment rates—across Africa, youth unemployment (10.9 percent) is essentially double that of adults (5.6 percent)—and slow growth in productive jobs.

The multi-country study Strengthening Education and Learning Systems to Deliver a 4IR-Ready Workforce builds on findings of the Mastercard Foundation report Secondary Education in Africa: Preparing the Youth for the Future of Work to map progress in strengthening secondary education systems to deliver a workforce prepared for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).

The study focuses on the secondary education level, including technical and vocational education and training (TVET) in six African countries: Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Niger, Rwanda, and Uganda. Working with national think tanks and research institutes, ACET developed a primary report for all six countries, each containing a review of the structure and composition of the workforce and a survey of policies, regulations, and institutional arrangements to align education and training outcomes with labor market demands. This report is a synthesis that identifies overarching issues and presents recommendations for action.

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