Pupils in the metal workshop of a vocational training institution in Accra, Ghana

Working together to create sustainable growth and jobs in Africa Special Initiative “Decent Work for a Just Transition”

Decent work generates income and gives people the opportunity to lift themselves out of poverty. It also strengthens social cohesion and people’s resilience in times of crisis. Job creation is thus a key ambition of German development policy.

About 25 million new jobs are needed in Africa every year. The current crises are affecting the employment situation, which was difficult even before. Millions of jobs were lost as a result of the pandemic, and the impacts of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine are hitting African economies and labour markets hard.

That is why the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) launched the Special Initiative “Decent Work for a Just Transition” to support German, European and African companies and investors in creating good jobs in Africa and help achieve a just transition towards climate-friendly economies and lifestyles.

What do we want to achieve?

With its Special Initiative “Decent Work for a Just Transition”, the BMZ wants to achieve several goals, including:

  • Creating good jobs in ecologically relevant industries of the future
    We are promoting employment and helping to build skills in green industries. Moreover, we are supporting the ecological and digital transformation of traditional economic sectors in order to create sustainable jobs. In doing so, we are also supporting the Climate and Development Partnerships in Africa.
  • Creating more quality jobs for women
    We are empowering female entrepreneurs and managers and, for example, supporting gender-transformative approaches in companies that help rectify the uneven distribution of power and change those rules that result in women being disadvantaged and discriminated against.
  • Improving working conditions and promoting social protection
    We are working with companies to increase incomes and improve working conditions and strengthen social protection schemes in companies. We are also engaged in efforts to improve the formalisation of jobs, especially for women and girls.
  • Scaling up collaboration with companies
    We are supporting the integration of African companies in local, regional and global supply chains. In the future, our cooperation with German and European companies will focus more on establishing links with African companies.
  • Strengthening global structural policy for more and better jobs
    We are scaling up our strategic approaches with multilateral partners on labour standards and the topic of “Green Jobs and Green Skills”, in particular with the International Labour Organization (ILO), the EU, the World Bank and the G7.
Morocco: Further processing of solar cells for photovoltaic companies

Morocco: Further processing of solar cells for photovoltaic companies

Morocco: Further processing of solar cells for photovoltaic companies

What is our starting point?

Projects and programmes under the special initiative currently concentrate on three areas:

Seamstresses in Ethiopia

Cluster approach Fostering the attractiveness of business locations and industries

Together with our partner countries we are working to strengthen business locations – including business parks and industrial zones – that are attractive and likely to be successful in the long term. In addition, we are giving targeted support to selected growth industries in our partner countries.

Morocco: Lab technicians discuss process flows.

Business & Invest Supporting sustainable investments

We offer special collaborative models aimed at developing projects with companies and local partners. If, in our meetings in this context, specific investment constraints or trade barriers are identified – such as a shortage of skilled workers, low levels of capacity among local suppliers or poor infrastructure –, then we will look at ways to eliminate them in the long term, thereby paving the way for investment. The primary goal of all our efforts is to create long-term, sustainable employment.

Employee in a company in Tunisia

African “Mittelstand Promoting the SME sector

We aim to support the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises (the “Mittelstand”) in Africa by helping them to access new markets.

At the same time, we are helping to foster cooperation between African and German SMEs.

One of the goals of this initiative is to stimulate business cooperation and sustainable supply structures and to make value chains more international.

Who are we working with? What implementing tools are available to us?

The BMZ has mandated the following organisations to implement the Special Initiative on Training and Job Creation: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), KfW Development Bank, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) and the development agencies Foundation for Economic Development and Vocational Training (SEQUA) and Engagement Global – Service for Development Initiatives.

In our efforts to create job and training opportunities, we work with not only businesses and investors but also higher education institutions, vocational training schools, business chambers and associations, and civil society organisations.

Several programmes and partnerships help to make the special initiative a success. These include:

  • German and European enterprises are working together to develop investment projects under GIZ's Global Programme on Training and Job Creation.
  • Under its “Job partnerships and SME promotion” project, GIZ is supporting the implementation of the special initiative in various partner countries and is building relationships with its African partners.
  • The “Investments for Employment” facility of KfW Development Bank provides funding to businesses and public partners, enabling them to carry out measures to remove obstacles to investment, e.g. by building training centres and access roads or by upgrading the electric power supply.
  • The “develoPPP for jobs” programme aims specifically to encourage development partnerships between European and African businesses that will lead to the creation of new jobs.
  • The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) is running a “University-Business Partnerships” programme that supports practice- and work-oriented degree courses and exchange programmes in order to promote higher education in Africa.
  • SEQUA-supported partnerships with business chambers and associations as well as vocational training institutions are helping to ensure that workers are trained and upskilled in accordance with labour market needs, and seeking to strengthen Africa's small to medium-sized companies.
  • The “Alliance for Product Quality in Africa” brings together institutions with know-how in the field of quality infrastructure (such as the PTB and GIZ) and African companies engaged in this field with the aim of improving the quality of local products in order to improve their export potential.
  • And, finally, Engagement Global – Service for Development Initiatives is working with civil society organisations to implement projects and programmes designed to promote training and job creation.

As at: 02/01/2023