Youth Employment in Mali

Young people in Mali face employment challenges. Fewer jobs are created in the economy than are needed to keep pace with the growing population. All of this leads to high levels of unemployment. Yet, there is a mismatch between skills acquired through education and the needs of the markets. There is a demand for skilled people in key labour intensive economic sectors. The project ‘Youth employment create opportunities at home in Mali’ aims to train 8,620 young people, including 2,586 women and 1,293 returnees and create 6,472 jobs.

Country

Mali

Start project

2018

Problem

Young people in Mali face employment challenges. Fewer jobs are created in the economy than are needed to keep pace with the growing population. In addition, there is a mismatch between skills acquired through education and the needs of the markets. All of this leads to high levels of unemployment.

Young population in Mali

Mali’s population is young. It is estimated that around 60% is under 25 years old. Each year around 300,000 young people are entering the labor market. However, the formal sector employs only 5% of the labor force. The informal sector offers the greatest number of jobs, however, they are often precarious and low paid. The political crisis that hit Mali in 2012 worsened the situation, after which the number of young Malians trying to search for better lives in Europe increased dramatically.

As the population of the region is expected to double by 2045, the importance of the employment issue is only increasing, especially with regard to the future prospects of young people.

Approach

In order to address youth unemployability, ICCO and its partners are working on the project ‘Youth employment create opportunities at home in Mali’. In this project we develop value chains in key labour intensive economic sectors, like horticulture and waste management.

Opportunities for Youth

The project aims to train 8,620 young people to run their own business, including 2,586 women and 1,293 returnees. The project ‘Youth employment create opportunities at home in Mali’ (EJOM, acronym for the French title  ‘L’Emploi des Jeunes crée les Opportunités ici au Mali’) aims to have 75% of these young people working by 2021 in the regions of Koulikoro, Kayes, Gao and the district of Bamako.

Results

At first, more than 31,000 young persons (aged 18 to 40) applied (13 times the number of openings available for the entire year). From this number, 2,400 youth were selected and received training, of which 42% were women. A second call in November 2018 led to the selection of 3,000 youths in the Kayes and Koulikoro regions.

Start own business

Despite the complex circumstances, everything indicates that EJOM’s approach is successful. Of the 2,500 young people who were trained in 2018, almost everyone started their own business. The 3,000 participants who were selected for the 2019 trajectory have started the training program in April.

The selected youth follow training in their selected branch of activity, among waste management, horticulture, food processing and handicrafts. Besides the technical trainings, youth also receive business management and life skills. In addition, they are coached during the whole process to help them succeed. At the end, youth receive a stipend that they can use to buy inputs and tools that will allow them to kick-start their career or activity (for example setting up a start-up).

Training for young people
8,620
Women
2,586
Jobs created
6,472

Quotes

Zakaria Koné (27 years)

Participant and Bachelor in Agropastoralism

I am fulfilling my dream of having my own company in the field of waste collection. The project has helped me to develop my business management and life skills as well as waste management skills. Thanks to the support of the project, I will be better equipped to develop my activity“.

Maimouna Bagayoko (34)

Participant and marketeer in agriculture

“I am involved in the marketing of vegetables, but thanks to the training I became passionate about growing food myself. I want more than anything else to get started and increase my income.”

Ataoulaye Bah

ICCO’s Deputy Manager West Africa

“Most Malians farm to meet their own subsistence needs. But successful farming is based on science and business: it’s not a question of just seeing how things go; you have to do the right things at the right moment. That’s the only way to produce enough for your own requirements and at the same time run a commercially viable business.”

Amadou Diallo

Agricultural entrepreneur who is active in Mali's youth movement

There’s tremendous potential in the agricultural sector. There are still so many areas to be developed to create employment opportunities for young people.

Selecting candidates

The first year of implementation, APEJ, the Malian governmental agency in charge of youth employment and a partner of the project, was solely responsible for the entire selection process. In January 2018, the agency launched a call for applicants which was broadcasted on TV, radios, social media and worship places. The applications were registered at all the administrative levels (communes, cercles and villages) then centralised and examined by a central selection committee.

The selected youth follow training in their selected branch of activity, among waste management, horticulture, food processing and handicrafts. Besides the technical trainings, youth also receive business management and life skills. In addition, they are coached during the whole process to help them succeed. At the end, youth receive a stipend that they can use to buy inputs and tools that will allow them to kick-start their career or activity (for example setting up a start-up).

Overwhelming response

The response of young people to join the program has been overwhelming: more than 31,000 young persons (aged 18 to 40) applied to the first call! That is 13 times the number of openings available for the entire year. From this number, 2,400 youth were selected and received training, of which 42% were women and 58% men. All the project specific areas received applicants, with food processing receiving the highest number of candidates (38%).

A second call was launched in November 2018 which led to the selection of a new cohort of 3,000 youths to be trained and coached so they can start their revenue making activities. This time, ICCO and APEJ shared responsibilities for the selection process in the Kayes and Koulikoro regions which are under ICCO’s responsibility. Training has yet to start for the second cohort.

Horticulture

In the horticulture training, the participants learn about good agriculture practices, soil preparation, spatial planning and fencing, grafting methods as well as the maintenance of cultures in theory and practice.

Waste management

The waste management skills training focuses on two specific topics: composting and waste collection. In composting, the young people learn about waste, sorting, the composting process and the use of compost. The practical course for pre-collection focuses on collection equipment, the importance of using protective equipment, logistics and transport, waste disposal as well as customer (household) search techniques.

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