How Nestlé is supporting African youth in Central and West Africa

Nov 1, 2017

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The International Labour Organization estimates that that two out of every five young people either are unemployed or have a job that keeps them in poverty. In most Central and West African countries, this rate is often much higher. This situation seriously undermines the cultural fabric and the development of the region as elevated unemployment rate and a lack of good quality job opportunities are key factors shaping young people’s decision to migrate abroad permanently.

At Nestlé, we are determined to help young people develop their skills and gain experience so they can find jobs or create their own businesses. We believe that communities cannot thrive if they cannot offer a future for younger generations.

This is why we have the ambition to help 10 million young people around the world to have access to economic opportunities by 2030 through the rollout of our Global Youth Initiative: Nestlé needs YOUth.

Celebrating African Youth Day 2017 and Creating opportunities for Youth in Africa

1st November is African Youth Day and we want to join forces with other key actors to celebrate the contribution of youth to achieving sustainable development in Africa and enhance youth employment in Africa.

This year, the Nestlé needs YOUth initiative has expanded to encompass our entire value chain, from the sourcing of raw materials to the manufacturing and distribution of our products.

In Central and West Africa, this translates by supporting young people, especially women and girls, to be economically and socially active and independent. We offer internship, create traineeships, apprenticeship and job opportunities for young people at our sites across the region, with the aim to ‘promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full of productive employment and decent work for all’.

In the region, we are rolling out readiness-for-work training, agriprenuership and entrepreneurship opportunities. In 2016, 23 young talents started the Management Trainee Program in Nigeria, Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire. These training programmes equip the youth with Leadership, Management and other critical work related skills.

For Ifeanyichukwu Orabuche, who now works at Nestlé Nigeria, being a part of this initiative has helped to build his readiness-for-work skills: “joining Nestlé as a Graduate Trainee in 2013 formed the bedrock of my career and shaped me for my career in Nestlé. Interacting with so many people from diverse cultures, appreciating different perspectives and insights from different teams, has taught me teamwork and leadership. These have allowed me add value to the business both in Nigeria and across the region where I have successful managed marketing projects. Nestlé is about people, values and the culture. There is nothing like working for a company that cares not only about the goals but how it is achieved. It has been an exciting journey so far.”

Our youth training programme at the Technical Training Centre in Agbara in Nigeria and Yopougon in Côte d’Ivoire is part of the initiative, which is helping to develop and train young engineers. Twenty- eight (28) students completed the training in Nestlé Nigeria by 2015, out of which 21 took up employment at Nestlé Nigeria.

Moreover, Nestlé recently signed a partnership with the Felix Houphouet Boigny Institute in Côte d’Ivoire, to develop the technological capability of its students in the area of innovation, research and development.

Boosting youth entrepreneurship

We are continuing to support youth in Central and West Africa by helping build their entrepreneurial skills.

The ‘My Own Business’ (MYOWBU) street-vending programme and ‘pushcart’ initiative, led by our company’s out-of-home business Nestlé Professional, provide young people and adults across the region with the skills and expertise they need to run their own successful small businesses.

It guides operators to manage their own micro-enterprise and gives them training on sales, management, hygiene, safety and quality standards. The operators then recruit and employ an average of about eight to ten street vendors to sell brands such as Nescafé and Milo in cups at busy public areas such as stadia, open markets and bus stops.

To date, more than 4,900 operators and vendors have taken part in both programmes in the region.

Our Global Youth Initiative helps to address the UN SDG Goal 8, which aims to ‘promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full of productive employment and decent work for all’.