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21 March 2022

WorldSkills Africa continues to grow with latest regional competition

With WorldSkills Africa Swakopmund 2022 taking place in Namibia from 28 March to 2 April, we look at some of the key milestones in the development of WorldSkills Africa.

WorldSkills Africa Swakopmund 2022 begins on 28 March with ten countries plus Team Refugees from across the African continent competing in the Namibian coastal city of Swakopmund. It will be the second WorldSkills Africa Competition, following a smaller-scale event in Kigali in 2018.

The event in Kigali featured both WorldSkills Members and non-Members and was a vital step to engage key partners such as the African Union. A year later, in 2019, both organizations signed a Memorandum of Understanding to enhance skills development in line with the WorldSkills Vision 2025 and the African Union Agenda 2063.

WorldSkills Vision 2025 recognized Africa as a priority region and called for the need for improving access to and the quality of skills development initiatives in the continent.

“If you look at Africa’s demographic structure, almost 60 per cent of the population is under the age of 25. If we don’t invest in them and help them acquire skills, we will lose a golden opportunity. Those young people cannot wait,” says San-Quei Lin, Board member, Strategic Development for WorldSkills.

WorldSkills Africa has been developed through capacity building, the One Country One African Friend programme, and establishing it as a regional organization supported by the African Union and WorldSkills.

“Each African country has their own TVET system, and we can help them through skills promotion and capacity building that are inclusive and demand-driven. Resources and support from other Members and Global Partners are also important for enabling them to use the power of skills to transform their countries,” added Mr Lin.

The partnership supports the African Union’s objective to counter negative perceptions of TVET in the continent and help build stronger skill ecosystems.

“This is one of the most important partnerships in skills development on the continent. Through the engagement of different countries in skill competitions, it is expected that TVET will be considered crucial for the development of the skills for employment and contributing to the prosperity of the countries,” said Nicholas Ouma, Senior Youth Advisor, Education, Science, Technology & Innovation Department at the African Union.

In preparation for WorldSkills Africa Swakopmund 2022, a series of virtual capacity-building workshops focusing on occupational standards, skills training, and skills competition management took place from September 2020 to February 2022. This was complemented with mentorship between WorldSkills International Experts and national Experts.

WorldSkills Korea's Capacity Building Centre and WorldSkills Chinese Taipei's Capacity Building Centre have been actively engaged in supporting skill development in various ways, including the production of skills video training for Experts, webinars and workshops, and online consultation.

WorldSkills Belgium, Brazil, China, France, and Germany have also provided specific assistance through the One Country One African Friend programme. Brazil cooperated with Portuguese speaking countries in Africa, while China delivered online training on Information Network Cabling to nine countries in partnership with Guangdong Vcom Education Technology. Other Global Partners such as FESTO and Lincoln Electric have also supported WorldSkills Africa.

Long after the event ends on 2 April, efforts will continue to expand WorldSkills Africa as a gateway for more African countries to join the WorldSkills movement.

“Currently, we have nine Members in the continent, and we are aiming at recruiting at least a quarter of the African countries by 2025,” says Mr Lin. “We believe that with the support of the African Union and WorldSkills International it will be possible to reach such target.

“However, many countries are not aware of its existence. We need to build more advocacy platforms and engage more countries throughout ministerial summit meetings, which will be coming later this year,” said Mr Ouma.

Bid proposals for the third WorldSkills Africa Competition will be submitted during the Skills Development in Africa meeting that will run alongside WorldSkills Shanghai 2022 later this year.

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