ILO/ITU/AU Joint Programme

The ILO and ITU gather key stakeholders to scale up action to boost youth employment and digital skills development in Nigeria’s digital economy

On 2 December 2021, the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) brought together key digital economy and youth employment stakeholders. Participants discussed pilot initiatives undertaken in Nigeria as part of the Joint Programme on Boosting Decent Jobs and Enhancing Skills for Youth in Nigeria’s Digital Economy. Participants also identified best practices to scale up joint action for decent job creation and skilling for youth in Nigeria’s digital economy.

Article | 02 December 2021
ABUJA, 2 December 2021 - Many young Africans face barriers to accessing decent work, which the COVID-19 pandemic has only made worse. In Nigeria, two-thirds of young people are unemployed or underemployed, and most work in the informal economy. At the same time, the digital transformation across the continent has the potential to create new jobs and to build back better. Nigeria is already home to a well-developed technology ecosystem and has the largest e-commerce market in Africa. The country’s ICT sector has steadily grown, even during the pandemic.

Vanessa Phala, Director ILO CO-Abuja addressing workshop participants
Against this backdrop, the ILO and ITU ‒ in support of the African Union (AU) and with the Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth ‒ are implementing a joint programme to empower African youth, ensuring they benefit from new opportunities in the digital economy.

The goal of the programme is to enable more young Africans to access decent work in the digital economy. This is being achieved through country-specific interventions that promote job creation, strengthen digital skills and improve employment services. The programme is generating new evidence for data-driven action and solutions.
In Nigeria, the ILO and ITU are strengthening the knowledge base on the country’s digital economy. This includes an assessment of skills supply and demand in the digital economy. The assessment identifies skills gaps in priority sectors, opportunities for improving youth skills development and detect specific needs that, if addressed, can generate new employment opportunities for young people. The assessment will survey young people, employers and youth employment stakeholders. Its recommendations will inform further programme implementation.

The ILO and ITU have also been working with key partners to advance innovative digital skills and job solutions. The Nigerian SDGs Youth Network, a coalition of youth-led civil society organizations, is implementing a Skills for Employment Programme. The initiative equips youth with digital skills with the goal of placing them in internships with small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the digital space. The Joint Programme also engages representatives from the Generation Connect Africa Youth Group in its activities.