Randstad and VSO are celebrating the 15th anniversary of their partnership this year. A good time to look back and to look ahead: what are the opportunities and challenges in the field of employment in Africa? That’s why VSO and Randstad are organising the seminar Partnerships for Sustainable Youth Employment.

Challenge Fund for Sustainable Youth Employment

The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs is launching the Challenge Fund for Sustainable Youth Employment (CFYE) on this day as well. CFYE focuses on creating perspectives for 200,000 young men and women by investing in decent work and income in West Africa/Sahel, Horn of Africa, North Africa and the Middle East regions. Palladium Europe, Randstad and VSO will manage the fund.

VSO and Randstad seminar

During this seminar, we will take a closer look at the current dilemmas surrounding young people’s participation in the labour market and their empowerment. Because what exactly is going on? Employment in general is still scarce in Africa, let alone permanent employment.

According to the African Development Bank, there currently are 420 million young people aged between 15 and 35 on the continent. A very small proportion of these young people are employed. The vast majority of them try to earn an income in the informal economy, usually in poor and precarious conditions. Their income is often insufficient to support them and to build a future.

“Youth unemployment is a huge problem in Africa. We need to address that in ‘bitesize’. In Tanzania, we already reached 4,000 youth. How can we expand this group? We can bring these young people work skills, but who will bring them financial skills? That could be ABN AMRO, or RABO. In a year, we would like to have some successes, but also some failures we can learn from.”

Jacques van den Broek, CEO Randstad




Opportunities for African youth

Depressing figures, it seems. But that’s being too negative. The emerging global Gig economy, in which ‘flexibility’ and ‘innovation’ are key words, offers opportunities. Young people are resilient and innovative and are always willing to learn new things. This is very important in order to be able to keep up with the changing market.

In Africa, for example, there are now many opportunities to intensify agriculture, but also for the development of medium-sized businesses. There is room for further processing of raw materials harvested on the continent. So, there are opportunities for these young people, but how can they make better use of them? We will be discussing this with African youth on November 22nd.

Partnership VSO and Randstad

VSO and Randstad are joining forces to help African young people find work. Randstad focuses on teaching the right skills that are focused on the market, but also on work skills in general. VSO takes care of the inclusion of groups that otherwise risk being overlooked, such as women and young people with disabilities. VSO also works on strengthening self-confidence, lobbying the government and ‘empowering these young people to stand up for their rights’.

“Young people feel they don’t have enough influence in politics, many girls and women lack access to work because of cultural barriers. VSO helps young people to start a productive business, for example in agriculture, that helps them to care for their family and more. So not only how to be self relient, but also how to be capable of pursuing their ambitions.”

Erik Ackerman, directeur VSO Nederland

22 November: join the discussion on youth employment in Africa

On 22 November VSO and Randstad will be organizing the ‘Partnerships for Sustainable Youth Employment Africa’ seminar. We are extending invitations to parties who want to discuss this theme with us.