The 8 million Euro grant to the Skills Initiative for Africa (SIFA) Programme was signed with the presence of Mrs. Anna Burylo, Deputy Head of EU Delegation to the African Union and Mr. Tobias Gerster (Head of Department in GIZ) and Dr. Inge Baumgarten (Director GIZ AU Office).
The signing was witnessed by the CEO of AUDA-NEPAD Dr. Ibrahim Hassane Mayaki. In their speeches all parties appreciated this important step which is extending the current SIFA project from an AU-German into a multi-donor Initiative.
Mr. Gerster pointed out that the German government highly welcomes that the European Union and Germany are joining forces to support AUDA-NEPAD in this important initiative. Mr. Guenter Nooke underlined: “In the end it is private companies, start-ups, service providers which will generate the needed jobs for the young people on the continent. With this initiative we want to strengthen the cooperation between the private sector, government institutions and TVET providers to come up with innovative ideas for high-quality training which is at high demand on the labour market.”
Dr. Mayaki welcomed the expansion of the SIFA programme and its commitment to tackle youth employment holistically with both financial and technical tools to help strengthen TVET capacities within the Member States.
Mrs. Burylo indicated that the support is one of the milestone deliverables of the commitments made at the 5th AU EU Summit held in Abidjan in October 2017, and is expected to complement the other ongoing and newly initiated actions implemented under the framework of AU EU Strategic Partnership. He further underlined that the initiative is part of the renewed commitments under the New Africa Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Job Creation.
The new engagement of the European Union will not only scale up the current tasks of SIFA but also kickstart new areas of action for the programme.
As new technical partners the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the European Training Foundation (ETF) will join the initiative and will implement the activities related to labor market information systems in selected AU member countries as well as the development of an African Continental Qualification Framework. The EU contribution is part of a larger AU-EU Skills for Youth Employability action of the Pan African Programme and aims to improve occupational standards of young Africans on the continent.
SIFA was initiated in 2016 by the then chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC) Ms. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and German Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Dr. Gerd Müller to tackle the challenge of youth unemployment on the African continent. SIFA rests on two pillars: The Finance Facility which funds technical vocational education projects in eight countries including Ethiopia and a technical assistance project that provides a platform for knowledge exchange, dialogue and private sector cooperation. The Initiative is implemented by AUDA-NEPAD with support from the German Development Bank KfW and the GIZ.