As economies and societies turn more interdependent, the need to enhance our understanding of the world of work becomes increasingly important. Timely and focused information on the labour market is essential.
This issue has currently become one of the most important challenges in Africa and a lot of partners have started to take it into consideration when setting their action plans.
Answering these questions requires detailed analysis of a large volume of statistics.
At the national level, statistical information is generally gathered by National Statistical Agencies (Observatories) and Ministries of Labour. The private sector can also collect information on required skills, potential vacancies and technical evolution.
These statistics are needed for the development and evaluation of policies. They are also an important tool for information and analysis as they help to increase the understanding of common problems, explain actions and mobilize interest.
It must be acknowledged that there is a crucial lack of skills concerning this topic in Africa. The other continents, such as Asia, Europe and America have significant experience and we certainly can rectify the situation, with an adaptation, of course, to the specific context in Africa.
Many African countries have started a deep reflection in order to launch efficient actions. Focus is on the expansion of Labour Market Information for young job seekers, employers, training institutions, and policy makers.
Therefore, they have to face challenges in conjunction with various aspects:
A vast majority of African countries have to solve technical problems before launching such a big project.
The collection of Labour Market Information regarding goals and data collection methods needs to be thought-through. Who are the providers? Will the Public Employment Services participate directly in the collection of data? How is the data collection going to be organized with the different stakeholders?
After data has been collected, policy makers have to analyse it to make appropriate policies. This requires a clear view of targets and adapted methods.
It is not enough to create policies; there must be employees to implement them. How to design tools for advisers? How to train them?
There is a long process from initial reflection to implementation and use and in order to have an efficient and sustainable system it is necessary to determine all components.
It is clear that in Kenya, we will face low resources and capacities when trying to lead the project in an efficient manner. We have to come up with an alternative to our usual ways of proceeding as insufficient funds to hire a consultant for carrying out research and lack of capacity for the maintenance and management system are part of the reality. We are sure that the majority of African PES share our conclusions in this regard.
A Kenyan expert has represented Africa during a WAPES’ conference in Philippines in 2015, a similar training was held in Korea in 2016 and we consider that our PES can capitalize on existing researches and actions in this area.
Because we think that a collective approach is more interesting and because we believe in a triangular cooperation between PES, we would like to organize a high level three-day meeting (September 2017) with LMI experts from other African countries and from other continents to learn from each other, to share information and to create a virtual network of LMI expert in Public Employment Services.