EU-Africa Business Forum: ETF study highlights excellence of vocational centres in Sub-Saharan Africa

An ETF study which examined data from 26 vocational schools from 14 sub-Saharan African countries, to assess the scope and quality of educational and training services provided by a sample of ‘high-quality’ vocational schools in sub-Saharan Africa, was presented at the European Africa Business Forum which took place from 14 to 17 February 2022. The ETF supports European Union cooperation with the African Union on skills development. 

In 2020, youth between ages 15 and 24 constituted 20% (226 million) of sub-Saharan Africa’s total population (1.13 billion). The youth population in sub-Saharan Africa is projected to rise to 293 million in 2030 and to reach 413 million in 2050. Many of the youth are not in education, employment or training. Their socioeconomic integration into rapidly changing societies is one of the biggest challenges on the African continent.

Supporting vocational centres to excel

The ETF study gives a snapshot of good practice, which should help to inform the development and planning of schools and education and training systems. The research also describes the immediate, medium-term and long-term plans of these schools, to reveal their priorities and prospects for future development. Lastly, it identifies barriers and enablers that explain the schools’ level of development and shape how they develop.

A self-assessment survey undertaken as part of the study was launched with the help of organisations and projects supporting schools in the region: the EU vocational education and training (VET) Toolbox and Archipelago projects, Enabel (Belgium), GIZ (Germany), LuxDev (Luxembourg), the Agence française de développement (France) and Humana. They also facilitated meetings with representatives from schools in Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Mozambique, Angola, Malawi and Senegal and school-related, relevant stakeholders such as employers, learners and graduates (when possible).

The study concludes with the following five recommendations for policymakers that indicate how high-quality vocational education can be propagated and transmitted throughout sub-Saharan Africa:

1. Encourage and support schools to disseminate excellence

2. Help to establish leading schools for the digitalisation of vocational education and training

3. Help to strengthen collaboration and cooperation with industry and new businesses

4. Help to build capacities for successful devolution of VET governance

5. Provide training and support to help schools become green.

EU-Africa Business Forum 

The EU-Africa Business Forum (EABF) takes place every three years back to back with the EU-Africa Business Summit. It is co-organised by the European Union (EU), the African Union Commission (AUC), together with African and EU business organisations. It is a main event of public-private dialogue between the EU and Africa at continental level and aims at increasing opportunities of sustainable economic cooperation. The EU-Africa Business Summit will take place in June 2022.

More information can be found on the study and the report (in English and in French) on the ETF's Open Space

ETF Study on vocational schools in sub-Saharan Africa | Open Space (

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