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European Year of Skills

Strengthening workforce and SMEs: the impact of Kalanci project

ARCHIPELAGO is a joint Africa-Europe private sector initiative aimed at enhancing vocational training, funded by the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF).  


With a budget of €15 million, the programme operated from January 2019 to December 2023, focusing on improving workforce employability and entrepreneurial capacity in the Sahel and Lake Chad regions. Coordinated by sequa gGmbH, Eurochambres, and the Standing Conference of African and Francophone Consular Chambers and Intermediary Organisations (CPCCAF), ARCHIPELAGO implemented 20 projects. 

"Kalanci" project in Ivory Coast aimed to integrate young Ivorians into the labour market with training modules tailored to local industry needs in electricity, hospitality, and catering. Managed by RH Excellence Afrique (REA) and initiated by the The Union of Major Industrial Companies of Côte d'Ivoire (UGECI) and the French Council of Investors in Africa (CIAN), the project included technical training and internships. Six ACCOR group hotels in Abidjan provided practical experience for trainees. 

Marie Odile Cachia, director of Yarani vocational school, noted, "Short courses leading to qualifications are a new experience for us. Many women seek these courses to quickly start earning or because they lack the prerequisites for a degree. Feedback has been positive, with hoteliers appreciating the women's work and offering employment." 

Amoul Coly, Director for Africa of Human Resources at ACCOR, added, "KALANCI's students are among our best employees. They are now part of our talent pool for current and future needs." 

Similar training was provided for low-voltage electricity technicians in partnership with Compagnie Ivoirienne d’Électricité (CIE). 

Overall, the Kalanci project achieved: 

  • 584 individuals trained through work-based modules 
  • 106 employed by companies, 57 self-employed post-training 
  • Four new training programmes developed 
  • 28 local trainers trained 

The ARCHIPELAGO programme demonstrates the significant impact of targeted vocational training on improving employment and entrepreneurship in Africa.