ARCHIPELAGO is a 4-year European programme, funded by the European Union in the framework of the EU Emergency Trust Fund (EUTF) for Africa and whose main objective is to improve the employability of youth through targeted technical and vocational training measures, and strengthen the entrepreneurial skills of SMEs in 12 countries in the Sahel and Lake Chad region (Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal).

The global budget allocated to ARCHIPELAGO amounts to 15 million EUR. The programme is implemented from January 2019 to January 2023.

The ARCHIPELAGO programme thus aims to support the creation of sustainable and decent job opportunities in West and Central Africa. As a result, it contributes to tackle the grievances arising from economic and social exclusion, marginalisation and inequality, usually considered as the most significant drivers of violence, radicalisation, forced displacement and irregular migration.

Main features of the programme:

  • Vocational competencies. ARCHIPELAGO is an inclusive economic development programme addressing youth and vulnerable groups' employability through increasing their professional skills as well as enhancing employment opportunities.
  • Employability. Archipelago aims to increase local employment opportunities and employability by developing local vocational training resources adapted to private sector needs.
  • Partnership Principle. The principle approach is the implementation of targeted partnership projects between African and European Business Support Organisations (BSOs) and Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Institutions with the objective to provide labour market relevant TVET training.
  • Dual approach. The partners SEQUA, CPCCAF and EUROCHAMBRES mobilise their networks and facilitate partnerships. After being competitively selected through calls for proposals these partnership projects will develop adapted dual approach training modules (workplace and TVET centre).

Intervention logic:

Overall objective:

  • to better match the offer of labour (skills available on the labour market) to the demand of labour (generated by the local private sector and productive economic growth).

Specific objectives:

  • Increase and improve local employment opportunities by strengthening entrepreneurial skills, SMEs job creation
  • Develop local training and vocational resources adapted to private sector needs to enhance employability of young people

Expected results:

  • Private Sector and youth are aware of the employment opportunities offered by TVET
  • Youth is trained and has skills according to private sector needs and identified economic potentials
  • Local economic development and entrepreneurship is enhanced
  • Performance and service provision of Business Support Organizations and Technical Vocational Education and Training institutions in the Sahel region and Lake Chad is improved


  • 11.500 direct beneficiaries are aware of the programme’s opportunities through information campaigns and training activities, including returnees identified in cooperation with IOM. (indirect beneficiaries 46.000)
  • 5.600 youth (between 15 and 40) trained (at least 40% female and indicatively 30 % of returnees 
  • 6.000 youth inserted into the job market
  • And amongst them at least 1.000 youth employed into new jobs creation (formal/informal)
  • The TVET offer for selected sectors/trades per country is improved, according to private sector’s needs and previously analysed focal sectors.
  • 1.800 company directors (employers) trained/sensitised on work-based learning
  • 100 training providers and 30 Business Support Organizations mobilised, trained and strengthened to provide better TVET services (objective: 9-10 organisations per country) – total for 12 countries: 100 organisations
  • 3.000 persons trained in entrepreneurship
  • 1.600 MSMEs involved in activities promoting local economic development (numbers segregated by locality, sector, gender, age groups)
  • 1.600 SME involved in identification of skills gaps
  • 2 local value chains enhanced per country, i.e. max. total 24 value chains
  • 60 new relevant services developed and offered by Business Support Organizations
  • 10% increase in membership/clients of Business Support Organizations offering relevant services
  • 60 local business issues taken up by Business Support Organizations in public private dialogue and discussed by at least 240 participants

Direct beneficiaries:

  • young people/youth (between 15 and 40) with or without occupation, returnees, formal and informal micro, small and medium enterprises in the target countries, private sector intermediary organisations, training centres/training providers, employment promotion agencies.

Indirect beneficiaries:

  • Communities where the actions take place benefitting from the economic growth leading to job creation.