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28 September 2023

Historic milestone in the establishment of WorldSkills Africa

The WorldSkills community celebrates the pre-launch of WorldSkills Africa as the regional platform to harness the power of skills for Africa’s development.

It was a significant moment today, when delegates at WorldSkills General Assembly Dublin 2023 witnessed the next important step in the formation of WorldSkills Africa. In front of more than 300 Members, Partners, supporters, and observers, Symerre Grey-Johnson, Director of Human Capital & Institutional Development of the African Union Development Agency, announced the pre-launch of WorldSkills Africa.

The pre-launch heralds the official launch of WorldSkills Africa that will take place at the Head of States and Government Summit in Addis Ababa in February 2024, timed to coincide with Africa’s Year of Transformation of Education and Skilling.

As delegates heard that “the world is not complete without Africa,” Grey-Johnson thanked the WorldSkills community for the support it has shared during WorldSkills General Assembly Dublin 2023, and over the months and years in preparation for this moment. He said, “We came here to demonstrate our commitment, and to share the vision for WorldSkills Africa which will help us harness the power of skills.”

The pre-launch announcement gave the WorldSkills community a chance to collectively applaud the hard work of the African Union Commission (AUC), the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD), WorldSkills Members from Africa and WorldSkills International, since the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding for the establishment of WorldSkills Africa back in February 2019.

Earlier in the week, during a side meeting, Grey-Johnson outlined the opportunity for skills development across the continent. He said, “African has a population of 1.4 billion people and 65% of those are under the age of 25. We are the fastest growing, youngest continent in the world, and yet we are the most unemployed. Our Heads of State recognise that African youth are the continent’s greatest hope towards realising a prosperous Africa whose development is people-driven, generating economic prospects and creating wealth for its citizens.”

At the same side meeting, Unami Mpofu from AUDA-NEPAD explained that the first step after the launch in 2024 will be the formation of a WorldSkills Africa operational desk that will sit within AUDA-NEPAD. She said, “We will use advocacy from current Members to mobilize Heads of State and, together, use WorldSkills Africa as a vehicle to showcase skills excellence, inform policy and improve Vocational Education and Training systems.”

The historic pre-launch today follows the announcement last week that WorldSkills Africa 2025 will take place in Livingstone, where WorldSkills Zambia will hope to build on the success of WorldSkills Africa Swakopmund 2022.

Grace Lung, Senior Manager of Partnerships Programmes for WorldSkills International, celebrated the positive atmosphere in the room saying, “It has been quite a journey. The first Skills Development in Africa meeting took place almost six years ago. Today, we feel a great sense of unity from the African Members and all our community. They are counting on each other and willing to help each other. It shows why WorldSkills Africa is going to be one of the most important strategies to drive systems transformation in VET.”

For more information on skills development in Africa, WorldSkills Africa Competitions, and the WorldSkills movement in the continent, visit the WorldSkills Africa website.