In Mali, unemployment is essentially an urban phenomenon. However, rural areas are highly affected by the issue of under-employment: 50 % of Malians do not have access to decent employment and the majority of these people live in rural areas. The Malian labour market is characterised by a lack of appropriate qualifications to meet the needs of companies, which are not sufficiently included in the design of training programmes and systems.
In this context, vocational training is considered as a significant vector for economic and social development for the country. To play this role fully, it must however evolve in order to truly meet the labour market’s skills requirements and contribute to improving the employment situation.
GRET and its Malian partner Foranim Consult are working with a view to this and are aiming for better employability of young people, as well as improvement of the competitiveness of agriculture-related businesses in the formal and informal sectors. Thanks to funding from Agence française de développement, since 2016 they have been providing technical assistance to the ministry of Employment and Training, both at central and regional level, in order to put the first three components of the Acefor (Amélioration de la Compétitivité des Entreprises par la Formation professionnelle – Improving the Competitiveness of Companies via Vocational training) project in place.
Officially launched by the Ministry of Employment and Vocational training on 16 February last, the activities implemented focus mainly on:
- improving the quality of the vocational training system in the agri-business domain in the Sikasso and Ségou regions by training trainers, strengthening organisation and management of vocational training centres, and enable them to create a network;
- creating a new training offer consisting of initial qualifying training and continuous training targeting rural jobs in growth sectors such as processing of agricultural products, maintenance of agricultural equipment, water management or management of agricultural inputs, with the involvement of professionals from the sectors concerned;
- strengthening of institutions and the development of partnerships (regional assemblies, regional departments of vocational training, the national employment agency, professional organisations).
GRET and Foranim Consult are also contributing to the fourth component of Acefor, which will enable the construction of two new vocational training centres in the Sikasso and Ségou regions.
Acefor aims to create six new reference manuals for training and to design 11 curricula for training courses in the agri-business sector. 960 young people and adults should benefit from this during the project, both in initial and continuous training. The first training courses should start in the new centres built during the third year of the project, which will end in 2021.