Photograph — business-humanrights.org

Nestlé in collaboration with its regional partners has launched an initiative to equip youth with the desired skillsets that could make them employable both at home and abroad

The ‘Regional Alliance for YOUth’ initiative will focus on providing employability programs, mentorship and training to equip African youths with essential workplace skills. This project, however, seeks the cooperation of various governments, foundations, and youth organizations, in Africa.

“We believe that investing in youth is vital for thriving,” said Rémy Ejel, Market Head for Nestlé Central and West Africa. He also firmly asserted that these trainees will help Nestlé “reach new markets, regardless of their field or level of expertise.” 

The alliance has successfully launched in three African countries: Côte d’Ivoire, Angola, and South Africa and has the goal of reaching at least 500 youths in Angola and 5,000 youths in Côte d’Ivoire by 2020.

In Angola, Regional Alliance for YOUth was launched in partnership with some private companies, the Swiss Embassy, ADPP and the Angolan government.

Similarly, regional companies in Côte d’Ivoire such as Bolloré, Groupe NSIA, MTN, and Agence Emploi Jeunes-(owned by the government) have keyed into the initiative and are willing to contribute.

In the words of  Zain Reddiar, one of MTN’s General Managers in Côte d’Ivoire, “we are ready to effectively contribute to this project, which will help a large part of the population.”

Nearly over 77 percent of the Ivorian population is aged under 35, Reddiar maintains that “Concrete actions must be taken to provide more opportunities and help to integrate these young people into the workplace.”

According to the United Nations, about 226 million youth aged 15-24 lived in Africa as of 2015 which represented nearly 20 percent of Africa’s population, and one-fifth of the world’s youth population. 

It is clear that young people are in the majority across in Africa, with a forecast to reach 42 percent by 2030 and increase tremendously throughout the 21st century. Youth empowerment through employability training presents itself as a worthy cause that will shape the minds of Africa’s next generation of leaders. 

In a report by African Development Bank (ADB), 50 percent of youths in Africa will be unemployed (excluding students) by the year 2025. This alarming figure inevitably adds to the growing need for employability programs on the continent.

The Regional Alliance for YOUth calls on companies irrespective of size or turnover to join them and create a long-lasting impact for young people in Africa and consider hiring them after the training.

Employability training such as CV and interview skills, identifying career opportunities and accessibility will take place in sub-Saharan Africa. Also, career-counselling sessions will be offered to young people who are indecisive on the career path to take.

By Treasure Nnabugwu.

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