ProAgro Ethiopia – ‘Promotion of Decent Work in Agribusiness’ Project

The Project aims to support the Government of Ethiopia by contributing to the creation of more and better jobs for women and men in the agribusiness sector. Its approach is based on two principles: it will both “push” people into the labour market, by providing them with the skills needed to access employment or start their business, and “pull” them, by supporting enterprises and value chain development so that the private sector can grow and provide more and better jobs. In carrying out its work, the project focuses on building the capacity of national, regional, and local stakeholders to develop and implement policies aimed at boosting the job creation potential of the agribusiness sector.

Despite some significant progress, Africa’s labour markets continue to face widespread poverty and informal employment and poor working conditions. Low levels of education and skills, weak institutions, insufficient growth, stagnating labour productivity and inadequate social and economic development further exacerbate the situation presenting constraints for the ever-growing number of new entrants to the job market and private sector activity.

The impact of climate change, demographic shifts, technological progress and globalization only serve to amplify existing challenges in Africa. The ILO estimates that some 1.25 billion workers are employed in sectors that are now facing a severe decline in output and a high risk of workforce displacement, including job losses, reduced working hours and incomes. Key sectors impacted include retail trade, accommodation and food services and manufacturing.

Designed under the framework of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (BMZ) Special Initiative on Training and Job Creation, ProAgro Ethiopia is an ILO project that puts forth an integrated strategy, combining policy support, skills development, enterprise development, and entrepreneurship training in the agribusiness sector to create jobs to improve local working conditions and promote sustainable economic growth. The project is implemented in Ethiopia, over a period of four years with an operating budget of 5 million euros. At the country level, the project is operating in two selected regions namely Amhara and Sidama regional states.

ProAgro Ethiopia aims to create decent job opportunities for women and men in the agribusiness sector. In carrying out its work, the project focuses on building the capacity of national, regional, and local stakeholders to develop and implement policies aimed at boosting the job creation potential of the agribusiness sector.

The project also contributes to addressing the challenges mentioned above through strategic integrated interventions, combining both short-term and long-term measures and labour demand and supply side approaches in the agribusiness sector in Ethiopia.

Target beneficiaries

  • Those not in employment, including active job seekers and people 'Not in Education, Employment or Training' (NEET)
  • Women and men currently employed formally or informally in the agribusiness sector
  • Micro, small, and medium enterprises in the agribusiness sector

Outcome areas of intervention

1. Conducive ecosystem for decent jobs creation and sustainable investment created
  • Enhance the capacity of Investment Promotion Agencies (Ethiopian Investment Commission (EIC), the Regional Investment Bureaus (RIBs), Ministry of Labour and Skills, and Ministry of Industry (MOI) to influence and monitor the jobs intensity and sustainability of investments.
  • Support the “local ecosystem” for employment and training services to better cater for the different needs of the employers and job seekers in the agribusiness sector.
Under this outcome the project will work at increasing the number of people employed in the target regions and sectors, enhancing the satisfaction rates of job seekers with available local employment services and also working at improving the satisfaction rates of foreign and local investors with the support services offered by investment promotion agencies and the wider local employment ecosystem in the target regions in the country.

2. Social dialogue and inclusive collective bargaining are promoted as key means of achieving decent work and stable industrial relations in the sector
  • Decent work standards and workers’ rights advocated and promoted
Under this outcome, the project will work towards improving the working conditions, wages, and productivity between companies and workers by increasing the number of enterprise-level local or sectoral agreements. This will result in an increase in the number of workers (women, men, and youth) who will benefit from the improved working conditions (working time, operational safety and health, wages, harassment, and other key aspects).  

3. Quality and more demand oriented TVETs and trainings that increase employability and job prospects developed
  • Enhance collaboration, advocacy and capacity building on Skills Governance through the establishment of Sector Skills Councils (SSC) at the federal and regional levels.
  • Design and development of demand driven short term trainings to enhance employability in the agribusiness sector
Under this outcome the project will work to increase the number of trainees employed as a result of the traineeships/apprenticeships/short-term training courses, the number of people who have completed technical short-term and core-skills/TVET programs, and the number of graduates of work-based learning programmes.

4. Enterprise Development and Entrepreneurship trainings conducted
  • Systemic bottlenecks hindering the performance of selected agribusiness sub sectors identified, innovative interventions introduced through collaborations with local partners.
  • Business development and financial service providers better match their services to the needs of local enterprises in selected sectors.
  • Stakeholders have developed their capacity to advocate for an improved enabling environment.
  • Young, women, and men have access to entrepreneurship opportunities in the agribusiness sector.
Under this outcome the project will work to raise the number of enterprises supported and the people who benefit from improved jobs (higher income) in the target value chains.

Linkages to national development plans and international development cooperation:

  • The project contributes to Ethiopia’s Ten years Perspective Plan (2021-2030) which highlights the need to create a conducive investment climate to incentivize investors in key sectors to promote inclusive economic growth in line with Ethiopia’s development priorities.
  • Ethiopia’s Home-grown Economic Reform Agenda, which identifies agriculture as a priority sector for job creation, inclusion and productivity improvements.
  • Ethiopian Jobs Creation Commission (JCC) National Plan of Action for Jobs Creation (NPAJC) that aims at realizing the job-creation potential of prospective high-yield sectors such as agriculture and industry (agro processing).
  • United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSCDF) 2020-2025, Ethiopia (Pillar 1: Inclusive economic growth, productivity and competitiveness, institutional transformation and equitable participation of women and youth)
  • ILO Ethiopia Decent Work Country Programme (2021-2025)