After several years of domestic instability, the political situation in Mauritania is gradually consolidating. Although real efforts in the governance sector are visible, some progress is still expected in favour of civil society, justice and human rights. The question of sustainable and inclusive growth arises, with nearly a quarter of the population still food insecure, despite an improved economic situation… To learn more click here

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    Au sud de la Mauritanie, des femmes suivent une formation en Eco-bâtiment dispensée par l’OIT, dans le cadre du Fond Fiduciaire de l’UE pour l’Afrique.
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    In southern Mauritania, women are receiving training in Eco-building provided by the ILO, as part of the EU Trust Fund for Africa.

    Copyright: Alfredo Caliz 

Jobs that Change Lives

A communication project between Mauritania and Europe

The European Union and the International Labour Office in Mauritania have developed programmes to promote decent employment, increasing job opportunities for young people in precarious situations and improving their employability. 

Through very concrete actions such as School Sites, innovative methodology of dual vocational training, young people who are most in need or in decline at school have the chance to learn a trade within a relatively short time and find a job quickly. These programmes cover two key sectors of Mauritania’s economy with a great potential for job creation: eco-construction and artisanal fishing. More than 1,500 young men and women have been trained in this framework since 2017. 

The communication project "Jobs that Change Lives" highlights the positive experiences generated by the School Yards. It shows the concrete changes in life and behaviour of people supported by better socio-professional integration. 

This project consists of two publications, photographs and videos produced by a multidisciplinary team composed of a photographer, a writer and an anthropologist. The two publications, Carnet de Terre (for eco-construction projects) and Carnet de Mer (for work on small-scale fishing) were conceived in the form of literary narratives combining testimonies of beneficiaries, photographs and technical information on the Chantier École approach. 

“Jobs that Change Lives” was exhibited at the National Museum of Mauritania from 8 June to 10 July 2021 and will be on display outdoors in the city centre of Madrid, Spain, from 27 September to 8 October 2021, with a presentation ceremony on Wednesday, September 29. “Jobs that Change Lives” is also available here, in French, Spanish, English and Arabic. 

Youth Employment

In Mauritania, young people are being trained to develop jobs in the fisheries sector

Faced with high youth unemployment, Mauritania is strengthening its offer of vocational training for young people in order to promote their access to viable and decent jobs. In the north of the country, the focus is on the artisanal fishing sector, a promising sector because of its growth potential and its many promises of jobs. In Nouadhibou, the main fishing port and economic heart of the country, the actors of the Promopêche programme, financed by the European Union and implemented by the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation for Development (AECID), open the professional horizon of young Mauritanians. 

Mauritania has many assets for the development of the social and economic well-being of its population. With a fishing zone considered to be one of the richest in the world (more than 600 species, a large part of which is marketed), and a very young population, 60% is under 25 years old, The country wants to maximize its potential by accelerating access to youth employment. 

Indeed, the professional inclusion of Mauritanian youth is a concern: while young people aged 15 to 35 represent more than 60% of the population of working age, this category is also the most represented among the unemployed. According to ILO data, one in three young people is unemployed, and in the 15-24 age group, the rate rises to almost 50%. Entering the Mauritanian labour market is therefore difficult, especially for women, many of whom are excluded from the labour market. The employment of young people is a major concern of the government which has set up a series of actions, such as the organization of vocational training in promising sectors. 

In Nouadhibou, a town in the north of the country, the artisanal fishing sector is the main source of employment. Fishers make nearly ¾ of the catches of small-scale and coastal fishing (250,000 tonnes of seafood per year), generating about 55% of the total figure of Mauritanian small-scale and coastal fishing. The main sources of income for the artisanal fishing sector are the export of frozen products, fresh fish and fish meal. Despite a slowdown since 2020 due to the impact of the global coronavirus pandemic, the sector’s economic prospects are good and employment opportunities are plentiful. The Mauritanian Ministry of Fisheries and Maritime Economies (MPEM) has therefore decided to set up a series of training courses for young people and women throughout the value chain of artisanal fishing. 

Two national training centres in Nouadhibou were requested to organise the training: the Centre de qualification et formation aux métiers de la pêche (CQFMP) and the Institut supérieur des sciences de la mer (ISSM), both of which are part of the Naval Academy. 

In the workshop of the Centre de qualification et de formation aux métiers de la pêche (CQFMP), fifteen young boys took the training to repair outboard motors. Mamadou Alassane Sall, 23, shares her enthusiasm: 

In Mauritania, the high value-added processing of artisanal fisheries products is practically non-existent. Training in fish processing, targeting women in particular, was carried out by the trainers at the CQFPM training centre. A group of participants who dream of starting out together or independently. 

Traditionally, Mauritania is not a country of fishermen, unlike its neighbours, Morocco and Senegal, but successive droughts have gradually turned nomads towards the sea. The fisheries sector, which has too little roots in the Mauritanian population, would benefit from developing. Mohamed Saad Bouh Elemine, head of the CQFMP in Nouadhibou, describes the mission of this dynamic national institute and tells us more about the place of the fisheries sector within the Mauritanian tradition: 

Abdellahi Melainine, Professor of the ISSM, leads the training «hygiene and quality» bringing together 250 female fish sellers. Many of these women have been in the fishery for many years and have never received training. Their working conditions are difficult and many struggle to earn a decent living. Abdellahi Melainine testifies to the importance of training for women in Nouadhibou: 

The training topics were identified following a survey carried out by the project team among all the actors in the sector: artisanal fishermen, fishmongers, processors and processors of fish products, fish sellers (an estimated 1,800 people, mainly women). 

The survey conducted by AECID highlighted the many difficulties faced by women. They are present in large numbers in the processing and sale of fishery products and lack equipment for the storage of products and means of transport of fish, altering the quality of products and causing losses. In addition, these women have limited funds available for regular access to products and lack collective organization. 

Bah Hmoudi, a specialist in the field of fisheries, has been working for 2 years as a value chain expert in the AECID Promopêche project. He describes the trainings that have started, following the listening of the actors of the sector: 

Promopêche: an EU programme in support of Mauritania’s priorities 

Launched in 2019, this training activity implemented by AECID supports the priorities of the Mauritanian government, which has identified artisanal fishing as one of the drivers for greater inclusion of youth and women in the labour market. In addition to vocational training for young people, two other pillars complement this project: the promotion of sustainable artisanal fishing and public awareness of responsible and sustainable fishing. The overall objective is to contribute to the promotion of employment and the improvement of living and working conditions of the most vulnerable populations of northern Mauritania. 

This project is part of the Promopêche programme, known as Alliance Sahel. Financed by the European Union, it is intended to support the creation of decent jobs and to consolidate youth employment in the artisanal fisheries sector through activities implemented by 3 partners: the ILO, GIZ and AECID. 

Supporting Youth: A Priority for the Sahel Alliance 

Creating economic opportunities for the youngest in the G5 Sahel countries is a priority of the Sahel Alliance: The Sahel is a dynamic region with a young and entrepreneurial population, full of potential: better access to training, skills development and support for entrepreneurship can lead to concrete employment opportunities for young people, Restoring their confidence in the future,” write Sandra Kramer, EU-AU, West Africa and East Africa Relations Director at the European Union, and Maria Shaw-Barragan, EIB Department Director, in the Sahel Alliance 3 Years Report

In 3 years (2017-2020), nearly 500,000 people, including many young people, have benefited from vocational training or skills development initiatives, thanks to the support of members of the Sahel Alliance. 

In Nouadhibou, a town in the north of the country, the artisanal fishing sector is the main source of employment. Fishers make nearly ¾ of the catches of small-scale and coastal fishing (250,000 tonnes of seafood per year), generating about 55% of the total figure of Mauritanian small-scale and coastal fishing. The main sources of income for the artisanal fishing sector are the export of frozen products, fresh fish and fish meal. Despite a slowdown since 2020 due to the impact of the global coronavirus pandemic, the sector’s economic prospects are good and employment opportunities are plentiful. The Mauritanian Ministry of Fisheries and Maritime Economies (MPEM) has therefore decided to set up a series of training courses for young people and women throughout the value chain of artisanal fishing. 

Two national training centres in Nouadhibou were requested to organise the training: the Centre de qualification et formation aux métiers de la pêche (CQFMP) and the Institut supérieur des sciences de la mer (ISSM), both of which are part of the Naval Academy. 

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    Des jeunes qui se forment aux métiers de la pêche, à Nouadhibou (Nord)
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    Young people training in fishing trades, in Nouadhibou (North).

    Copyright: Aude Rossignol (Alliance Sahel)