Lennart van der Zwaan MSc
- health technology
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Africa is an enormous continent and each region faces its own specific challenges with regard to youth unemployment. In the Middle East and North African (MENA) region, there is a mismatch between supply of and demand for skills, a lack of decent and sustainable jobs as well as private sector investments, and there are high unemployment rates among young women. Other parts of Africa tend to be challenged by the fact that youths lack skills, due to low education enrolment and completion rates. The majority of youths in these regions work in the informal sector, especially in agriculture. TNO wants to use its knowledge and experience with projects that address similar challenges in the Netherlands, to improve youth employment in sub-Saharan Africa.
In the past several methods have been developed internationally to successful combat unemployment levels. Based on research TNO further fine-tuned the approach, valid for the Netherlands and Africa. The TNO methodology employs an integral approach built on three pillars:
The first step in this approach has recently been adjusted to and tested in a South African context together with our partners from Optentia North West University and Katholic University in Leuven. To tackle the challenges Africa faces with regard to youth unemployment, TNO wants to apply similar skill approaches in the region. By focusing on strengthening the prospects of young workers in finding jobs and creating their own businesses and by supporting employers to grow their company through HR development and innovation.
TNO can help companies to create more jobs by launching innovative products and services, like rearing crickets as nutritious food, cold ceramic bricks to combat deforestation and valorising residual products. Each project will be contextualised and adapted to fit the specific area with respect to the employees, employers and matching activities. It is essential to engage the private sector because it is businesses that can drive sustainable and inclusive economic growth.
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