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Format of the Conference

The Conference, jointly organized by the African Development Bank (AfDB), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), will be the fourteenth edition of the AEC Series. It is specifically aimed at providing a platform to address youth jobs challenges and discuss issues on youth skills and entrepreneurship in Africa.

To achieve its objectives, the Conference will be built on four pillars with 12 strategic actions. The debates will focus on using the four pillars to propel innovative solutions to address persistent skills mismatch of African youth and empower them for increased participation in the continent’s development agenda.

Each pillar will constitute a Plenary Session while the 12 strategic actions will constitute 12 parallel sessions. The 4 pillars and 12 agenda actions are presented in Table 1:

Table 1: Four (4) Pillars and 12 Actions for youth skills development and empowerment in Africa



4 Pillars

12 Agenda actions





Conceptual underpinnings of skills, entrepreneurship and labor market participation of African youth.

1.1. Skills mismatch and jobs for African youths – where are we, what are the lessons and opportunities? What are the skills needed to drive Africa’s transformation?

1.2. Experiences in upgrading skill sets of African youths (including entrepreneurship) - where are we, what are the lessons and opportunities?

1.3. Future of work for youth– where are we, what are the lessons, opportunities? How do we support the creation of ‘decent, green jobs’ for youth?

1.4. Socio-economic and political participation for Africa’s youth – where are we, what are the lessons and opportunities

Institutions for job creation, skills acquisition and capacity building.

2.1. Strengthening institutions to empower, improve the skills and build the capacities of African youths.

2.2. Reforming the education sector to be more responsive to the dynamics in labor markets by promoting skills in digital technologies, STEM and other future-oriented skills for youth.

2.3. Institutional reforms to promote innovation and entrepreneurship and participation through property rights etc.

Leverage private sector for increasing youth employment and employability.

3.1. Promote partnerships between educators and private sectors to facilitate apprenticeships and promote innovation 

3.2. Attract private sector investments in youth skills, innovation and value chains to build a critical mass of entrepreneurs.

3.3 Scaling up innovation in supporting young entrepreneurs and enhancing the role of youth in decision-making

Partnerships to close the existing skills gap and promote the acquisition of future oriented skills.

4.1. Foster interconnectedness of all stakeholders in the jobs-skills nexus for better implementation of reforms and monitoring of progress.