Need for Technical and Vocational Skill Development in Africa

The term Technical and Vocational skills Development follows the 1997 UNESCO International Standard Classification of Education definition, which is education and training to “acquire the practical skills, know-how and understanding necessary for employment in a particular occupation, trade or group of occupations or trades.” Africa has roughly 200 million people aged between 15 and 24 that are required to be trained to develop skills so that they are either employable or can start their own enterprises.

In order to train and modernize their technical labour pool for rapid industrialization and national development, African countries need to embrace Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET). The skills shortage is a priority that the Africa’s leadership in various sectors will need to address urgently, otherwise the country would be forced to ease restrictions for foreign workers to be able to meet the human resource requirements. Education and skills can open doors for economically and socially rewarding jobs and can seek growth for small-scale unofficial enterprise. The development of job-related skills therefore, should be a part of Africa’s human resource strategies and its poverty-reduction strategies.

Characteristics of Technical and Vocational skills Development systems:

TVET delivery systems are placed to train the skilled and efficient entrepreneurs that Africa needs to create wealth and thus emerge out of poverty. It can respond, not only to the requirements of different types of industries, but also caters to the needs of the learners from different sections of the society, and prepare them for a meaningful and supportable life while giving them employment.

The Impact of Technical and Vocational Training in Africa at present:

With the turn of the century, a fresh awareness of the analytical role played by TVET in economic growth and national development has been perceived by policy makers in many African countries and within the international contributing community. In its poverty reduction strategy document, Cameroon for example intends to develop vocational and professional training to promote union into the labour market; Cote d’Ivoire talks about strengthening vocational training; Ghana has associated vocational education and training with education of the youth and the development of technical and business management skills; Lesotho and Rwanda focus on linking TVET to businesses while Malawi emphasizes that it is required to promote self-employment through skills development. Other countries that have prioritized TVET initiatives in their national development policy documents including Chad, Ethiopia, Guinea, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Uganda and Zambia. Below is a graph showing the decrease in unemployment rate from January, 2014 to January,2015 from the data collected by Federal Reserve Bank.

The Education minister of Rwanda in Africa, Musafiri stated that expanding the training for technical and vocational skills development will bring innovative solutions to various challenges in the country which is its top priority requirement. The growing youth population of Africa comes with high energy, creativity and talents and the time has come to be able to utilize it by the development of their technical and vocational skills.


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