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WorldSkills Africa officially launched in Addis Ababa

Saturday, 17 February marked a pivotal milestone for skills development.During an exciting week of commitments to transform African education systems, delegates at the 37th Assembly of the Heads of State…

Saturday, 17 February marked a pivotal milestone for skills development.

During an exciting week of commitments to transform African education systems, delegates at the 37th Assembly of the Heads of State and Government of the African Union were invited to celebrate the official launch of WorldSkills Africa, a ground-breaking initiative dedicated to advancing Vocational Education and Training (VET) across the continent.

The official launch took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at the Summit, which is held every year to discuss the future of regional and continental development. Mrs Nardos Bekele Thomas, Chief Executive Officer of the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD), hailed the launch of WorldSkills Africa as a flagship to implement the objectives of the Continental TVET strategy. “Africa has great potential, but in order to achieve the goals of Agenda 2063 for a prosperous and inclusive society and economy, Africa needs skills. WorldSkills Africa will benefit young people to gain theoretical, practical as well as requisite work-based lifeskills needed for the world of work, to drive our economies.”

Echoing this celebratory tone, Mr Hakainde Hichilema, President of Zambia, said: “WorldSkills Africa is a strategic platform for us to nurture and showcase young people’s skills and talent. As we work towards the realisation of agenda 2063, WorldSkills Africa will serve as a catalyst for continental cooperation, fostering partnerships and knowledge exchange that transcend borders and boundaries.” The next WorldSkills Africa Competition will take place in Livingstone, Zambia in 2025.

As next steps, the AUDA-NEPAD will serve as Secretariat and work towards the mobilisation of African countries to become members of this new regional platform for skills. The launch was witnessed by heads of state, government officials, policy makers, industry leaders, along with representatives from the African Union Commission (AUC), the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD), and the WorldSkills community.

Prof Mohammed Belhocine, Commissioner Education Science Technology and Innovation at the African Union Commission, congratulated the AUDA-NEPAD for implementing the decisions of the 4th Specialised Technical Committee of the Ministers of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation and called on African countries to take advantage of this platform for exchange of best practices and benchmarking to improve links between Vocational Education and Training and market demands across the region.

The timing could not have been more perfect, as it coincided with the African Union declaring the theme for 2024 as, “Educate an African fit for the 21st Century: Building resilient education systems for increased access to inclusive, lifelong, quality and relevant learning in Africa.” Addressing the audience by video message, Chris Humphries, Chair of WorldSkills, said: “Africa is a continent in its ascendance, with the youngest population and some of the fastest growing economies. It is full of potential and possibility. By officially launching WorldSkills Africa today, we can accelerate each of your own national skill journeys.”

He concluded: “We are confident that WorldSkills Africa will help you reimagine your VET systems, so they support economic growth and productivity. It can help build capacity among your educators and trainers. And it will make it easier for young people to develop their skills, raise their ambition, and thrive.”

Some of the global partners of WorldSkills international include Sata, M3, Car-O-Liner and Autodesk.

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